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
AKU Tengu Lite GTX
It's impressive what you get when science meets exceptional, quality materials. A great trekking boot fit for an adrenaline junkie. I was sent the Tengu for testing from AKU. When I first put the boot on, it literally slurped my foot into it; it makes an audible sound. The boot has what is called a Goretex sock. It's somewhat like a neoprenish sock that's built right into the boot. It is quite comfortable and form fitting. I wore the boots to work each day for a week thinking that I'd have to… Full review
Incredibly dangerous! SOOOOO slippery! Just pure dangerous. I do not now how the owners of this manufacturer can sleep at night. One has to wonder how many people have been seriously injured, or have died, as a direct result of wearing these soles. Full review
Oboz Men's Campster
A lightweight slip-on water shoe with strong arch support and a grippy sole. Really good for walking on waterside trails—the polyester webbing’s forgiving feel is nice for walking, and the footbed holds your foot in place. Not ideal for steep sideways walks (eg walking along an angled riverbank). Though this is a fairly close-fitting shoe, I was able to wear them with a thin sock in colder weather. I liked the tilt up heel strap for times when I didn’t want something holding my heel. Has all… Full review
Five Ten Camp Four Mid GTX
Hot, Hot, Hot. Even with the Goretex they do not breathe. I'm hoping that when the DWR on the upper wears off they'll breathe a little better. Besides that they're really tough, and the soles are great on rock, even wet lichen. Not comfortable for hiking, but they are approach shoes not hiking boots. I'll put them to the test this season, see how they hold up. Full review
Ozark Trail Men's Hikers
I am not a fan of Walmart; I have purchased OT equipment for camping like mantles for Coleman lanterns, etc. even the coolers are much cheaper than Yeti. I used to hike in rugged country in Washington and have always preferred Hi-Tec (they have cheapened quality over the years). I am in Texas now, not much for hiking in flat lands, but I was told about these hiking boots (not as popular as cowboy boots around here), but they were $5 discount rack. I do not even think they make these anymore, very… Full review
Asolo Men's TPS 520 GV
Incredibly short break-in time, extremely comfortable, and durable boot. These are the best and longest lasting boots I've ever owned. I use these boots as both hikers and my daily work boots. My last pair lasted 2.5 years of everyday use both on the trail and in a chemistry lab. I've thrown everything at these boots from rocks, trees, and chainsaws; to industrial solvents like acetonitrile and methanol. The only reason I needed a new pair was because a solvent spill finally ate a hole in the Goretex… Full review
Swiss Barefoot Company Free Your Feet (Classic Swiss)
Over-rated, over-sold, and bad customer service. These socks were a present and the gifter is extremely disappointed by the result. The toes sleeves are the exact same length which means none of the toes fit properly. The big toe sleeve is very narrow so it barely fits on the actual toe. The material is much weaker than advertised and visible damage ocurred after a single trail run. The grip dots fell off from just walking in a living room with floorboards. The company is trying to ride the minimal… Full review