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 Men's Targhee II
I've really wanted to love these shoes... but just can't.... I've owned a pair of these boots for about 4 years now, and I've really wanted to love them, but I just can't. I tried on a pair of the Targhee II Mid boots size 11 in a store, and really like the fit and comfort, especially the wide toebox. But, I wanted the low shoe version and the store didn't have any. So, I ordered the low shoe version online, size 11. However, when they arrived they just weren't as comfortable. First, the… Full review
Great at first, but didn't last! The boots fit well and were great—the first two times I wore them. I wore them on a 14-mile hike last weekend and the sole literally fell off one of the boots. It started to come off the back of the second boot, too. I hiked over two hours on a boot without a rubber sole! Full review
Altra Men's King MT
My most comfortable shoe, with great grip on both loose and hard surfaces, zero drop, and light padding for good trail feel. The tradeoff for all that toe room is a little slop in the forefoot, and the jury is still out on durability. My biggest challenge in finding good running shoes is my mallet toes—the middle, ring toe, and to some extent pointer toe on both feet is bent at the distal joint, so that the top of the toe rubs against my shoes and can develop hard and sometimes painful calluses. Full review
REI Silk One Liner Sock
This liner sock improved my ability to hike and remain blister-free, as advertised. If you're looking to pair a liner sock with wool socks to reduce friction on your feet and avoid blisters, these will do the trick. If you have ever hiked or walked long distance in regular socks and switched to wool socks, you will understand the "revelation" of how much better your feet felt when making the switch. If you haven't tried liner socks inside your wool socks then you haven't had the second revelation:… Full review
Adidas Men's Response Boost
Really comfortable, but slippery. Don't risk your life with this shoe. Be careful when jumping or running using this shoes on cliffs or steep ground, you might risk your life by using a slippery trail running shoes like this one. My foot size is 43,5 (Europe). I usually wear 44,5 hiking shoes. But with this one, I use 45-1/3 for this shoe, and yet the toe box is still too narrow for me. I don't even know why I bought this shoe in the first place. I think because I tried it using no socks and it… Full review
Merrell Men's Moab Mid Waterproof
These WPB membrane "Mid" height boots are great for three-season backpacking I'm now on my second pair of Merrell Moab Mid boots with a WPB liner. The first pair (with GTX lining) is still useable, but for dry conditions because the waterproofing is going away. After having similar Danner boots have a sole CRACK right across the ball of my foot and one other Danner heavy all leather boot's steel shank get loose I tried Merrell boots and shoes and never looked back. I now have two pair of boots… Full review
Hi-Tec Men's V-Lite Altitude Ultra WPi
Excellent fit. Bought it for a trip to Nordkap (73 degrees North in the Arctic Circle) with temperatures at -25 degrees Celsius, deep snow in places. My feet never got wet nor cold. I bought these Hi-Tecs in 2014 to do a trip to Norway to go and experience the Aurora Borealis, nature's own pyrotechnics show. We travelled via working boat from Bergen, passed the Arctic Circle and rounded Nordkap. The return journey on Hurtigruten took 12 days. We were there in January when they have two months of… Full review