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
Asolo Men's TPS 520 GV
Bought the boots about 3 years ago, walked a 50 km on established bushwalking track, cleaned and stored them in a dry cupboard inside a suitcase for about 2 years, used them for 1 hour this weekend and both soles detached from the boot. I purchased a pair of Asolo TPS 520 GV around the end of 2015 and probably only walked about 50 km on established bush tracks. I then had a 2 1/2 year period where I was unable to use them so I cleaned them and stored them in a dry cupboard inside my house. I went… Full review
Oboz Men's Sawtooth Low
The best long distance hiking sho made Took a Big chance on the shoe just five five days before 125 mile long the North country Trail. I was not disappointed the she does it all-great traction, supreme comfort and very light weight all in one package. What more can you aske for in a long distance hiking shoe. I went and bought another pair after my hike I liked it so much. it needs very little break in and breath great. Full review
Salomon Men's Sense Mantra 3
Be sure you order a full size larger than you wear, these are made in France so the sizing is a little different. Shoe sizing is a little different so make sure get a size larger than normal. Lacing is simple and holds well. Not much break in needed. Full review
Xero Shoes Men's Z-Trek
Super lightweight. Great camp shoe! When I started looking for a good camp shoe, I took under consideration many of the shoes mentioned in the hiking blogs. I've owned Crocs (and knock-offs) before, but they wore out quickly. I have worn sport sandals through the summers for several years and enjoy the comfort, but seems like I'm buying a new pair every year, too! But the search is complete and Xero Z-trek sandals are the winner! From a hiking stand point, for trail shoes, they are very light (9… Full review
Salewa Men's Wildfire GTX
Grip like no other shoe I've owned. A touch narrow, but still very comfy, and did I mention grip? A review in two parts Part 1 - My review after the first day: I just received these in the mail and put them on. They are very comfortable and very true to size. I always wear a EUR 43 (I've given up on US sizes) and these fit me perfectly (US size 10 in this case). They are darker black than I expected from the photo where they look more grey—but they are still pretty sharp looking. The red laces… Full review
Inov-8 Men's X-Talon 212
The toughest darn shoe I have ever owned, with a tread that bites well on both mud and rock, but the narrow, low toe is not optimal for me. These are by far the toughest shoes I have ever owned. I have now logged over 1,000 running km on them (via GPS/Strava) and probably forgot to record a few more. The tread on the toes and backs of the heels is worn smooth and there's not much left under the ball of the foot, but the uppers have no holes or cracks and even the toe caps have held up well. (Due… Full review
Five Ten Women's Camp Four
Beautiful wide footed shoe, feels very solid walking on rocks and trail terrain; excellent grip. Toes do not feel squished but can spread out while walking. Full review