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
La Sportiva FC 4.0 GTX
By far the best boot I have ever had the pleasure of walking in...and I have put in a lot of mileage i am a very picky when it comes to my boots. These were an instand fit and felt as if I'd owned forever and finally got broken in. They didn't have a bulky tongue that normally would cut off the circulation of my foot. im the past I'd have to tie my full height boots super tight to gain the support I need on rough rock trails which made my feet feel bulky and sweaty. These boots give me incredible… Full review
Keen Men's Durand Low WP
Low hiker meant for the trail whether smooth or rocky, flat or steep. This is more of a warranty issue with the pair that I bought. I've used the Durands on a handful of hikes and trout fishing. They performed admirably. There's generous room in the toe box, which, due to Keen's design, is very helpful in preventing toe bang when descending steep trails. My issue occurred after a couple of months of owning the shoes when stitching started to unravel on the right shoe near the toe. I sent the photo… Full review
Rugged Outback Waterproof Hikers
These shoes are great for anyone who wants a durable and comfortable shoe. I have used these shoes for both backpacking trips and short hikes, and they worked well on all the trips. I recommend these for any avid hiker or backpacker as a comfortable shoe! I found these in my basement after a couple of years and they fit so I kept them. They are very good shoes that are extremely comfortable to wear, and they work well in the field. Working in the outdoor industry I am constantly on the search for… Full review
Adidas Terrex Boost
The Adidas Terrex Boost trail running shoes are a well-made shoe for a narrow foot. They have a rugged lugged sole made of Continental tire rubber and have a unique midsole consisting of thousands of thermoplastic polyurethane balls for improved cushioning. Though I am not a competitive mountain runner, the Adidas Terrex Boost shoes were tested on local mountain trails. During several days of trail jogging and fast hiking the Terrex Boost were put to the test. Slipping the shoes on, the no-tie speed… Full review
AKU Mustang GTX
Never buy an AKU boot. I bought this boot in October 2014. I used it three times and one of the boots started to bend. Normally this should not have happened. I have contacted AKU Italy and after all corresponding emails, I was left with a faulty boot. Their local dealer refuses to exchange or inspect even. I have never thought I would experience this negative experience from a reputable company. It seems they are not that reputable. The bending boot: The non-bending part: Full review
Scarpa Men's Terra GTX
A superbly made, lightweight comfortable walking boot, with good support for most hikes and trails and long-distance paths. With 100% waterproofing and excellent traction these make most routes a joy to walk. Thoroughly recommended indeed. I am now well into my second pair of these boots. The first I purchased about three years ago after a friend recommended Scarpa to me. Straight from the box the boots were extremely comfortable with both a snug fitting and very easy lacing system that leads to… Full review
Injinji Outdoor Quarter Crew Sock
Solves problems with toe blisters. I am very blister prone in between my third and fourth toes on both my feet, but especially my right foot. I always hike in shoes with a large toe box, but usually after about six hiking days I start to get blisters. I've tried taping, vaseline, and all the usual remedies—even tried to "train" my toes to separate with this strange device I wore around the house for a week or two. In preparation for a long hike last summer, I was just figuring I would deal with… Full review