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
Keen Women's Newport H2
They have been comfortable from day one. I live in these all summer. If it weren't for my Keen hikers, I would wear them in the snow. Good product I hope Keen hangs onto in the future. I adore my Birki river shoes, however finding a pair that protected the toe I found to be difficult. From day one, these Newport H2's have been AWESOME. Good traction in the water and out. They aren't hard to swim with once you get used to their weight. I just love them, enough said. My Keen hikers are just as wonderful. Full review
Altra Men's Superior 2.0
One of the most comfortable shoes I have owned, but not for long. I record my runs with a GPS watch and have put about 135 km on these shoes, mostly on trail. I bough them in my usual size 46, but the fit is a bit loose, especially in the heel (tried on the 45s but they seemed a little short). I was looking for something with a little more padding than the "barefoot" shoes I have been running in for the last 5.5 years, but still with zero drop and some trail feel. These seemed to fit the bill. They… Full review
Asolo Women's TPS 520 GV
High ankle, heavy-duty hiking boot for women. I recently acquired these for an insanely cheap price at a Zappo's outlet, and couldn't pass them up. I've only used them for one weekend trip so far, but found them to be decent enough, if not exactly fabulous. The boots are a good fit, and I like the design of them. They're comfortable to wear, and come up a little higher than some other boots I've used, giving a really sturdy feel with lots of ankle support. In fact, sturdy is just an all-around good… Full review
Comfortable, stable, and (so far) durable. They're great for walks and hikes with minimum bushwhacking and reasonably groomed trails. Excellent in clear water and the beach, but not for deep muck. I bought them to replace a pair of Tevas which were beginning to load sand around the strap attachment points, and dropping it in my bag, car, house, and everywhere else. I've used them all summer in various activities from a tourist style vacations in cities, to muddy crag approaches, and launching boats… Full review
Salomon Men's Quest 4D GTX
Good boots for the cost...waiting to see how they hold up. I am 51 and needless to say I have gone through quite a few pairs of boots! I purchased these about three months ago. THE GOOD: I really like the way these fit, feel, look, and support. On most trails these seem to "push" you along while walking and REALLY help if running. Keeps ankle VERY secure in all conditions. The waterproofing is above average (having some dampness after a few trips) and should be fine if you keep using your favorite… Full review
Altra Women's Superior 2.0
Great all-around trail shoes with comfortable fit and good trail feel. Unfortunately, they wear out too quickly. Intro/background: Altra gave these shoes to everyone who participated in Oslo Ecotrail in May 2016. Since May, I have run and hiked approximately 360 kilometers/220 miles in these shoes across a wide variety of terrain, and I feel like I have put them through their paces. Some of the big days in these shoes include a hard training weekend in loose, rocky terrain of Rondane National Park in… Full review
Vasque Women's Sundowner GTX
Solid leather, mid-ankle hiking boot. I first acquired my Sundowners in 2003, and immediately loved them. In fact, they were so comfortable, they quickly became my everyday foot attire, not just when hiking or in the woods, but even around school and home. I had them properly sized in an outdoor equipment store, so there was plenty of room in the toe. The GTX has an extra rivet up the ankle from the original sundowners, which helped me get the right amount of ankle support. The boots required no… Full review