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
Seirus Heatwave sock
This is a very thin oversock with a Thermodynamic inner surface. To be worn over any type of sock for additional warmth. The Seirus Heatwave sock uses Thermodynamic principles to radiate your foots heat back into your under sock for extra warmth. This is a simple super thin sock with a coating on the inside that in worn over any type of sock. A size medium worked well for my size 9 feet and they slipped over my ski socks easily. The stretchy fabric allowed them to hug my feet without adding any… Full review
Fox River PrimaHike socks
Warm medium weight hiking socks with an anatomical fit. Primaloft and Merino wool for a great feel. available in two heights. I have been testing these Fox River PrimaHike socks since the fall. I have used them for hiking, mountain biking, gym workouts, and just casual use. The PrimaHiker sock is available in crew and quarter crew heights. Fabric: 41% nylon, 26% PrimaLoft@ acrylic, 26% Merino wool, 4% NanoGlide® nylon, 3% Spandex Technology: By combining Primaloft with Merino wool they have added… Full review
Asolo Men's TPS 520 GV
These boots put my life in danger in the backcountry in winter. I guess these boots are hit or miss—mine missed. I see the 5-star ratings and I wonder how many of you have had the midsole delaminate and the tread sole come off. Not good. I think they should stop production and confirm that their adhesive and midsole material is not defective. I paid top dollar and got Walmart performance. Their boots were backpack specific, for trail only, and had a soft life. Never used for work or exposed to… Full review
The North Face Women's Chilkats
I've always been impressed with the quality and durability of the many North Face products I've purchased—many items that have lasted for years and countless uses. However, I too purchased the Chilkat style winter hiking boots and wore them only a handful of times resulting in what would be considered very minimal "wear & tear". The boots appeared in mint condition the last time I put them on, but after taking a few steps, I noticed a trail of broken pieces of rubber crumbling off as I walked. Full review
The North Face Men's Chilkats
Rubber lower cracked. I had a pair of the original Chilkats. I really liked them, but after a short period of time the lower rubber portion cracked. I took a chance again when they came out with the Chillkat ll. I really liked them and figured NF fixed the issue. NOT!! Same thing different boot. Really, North Face! Really! Full review
Vasque Men's Lost 40
Insulated, waterproof and pretty darn comfy, these mukluk style boots are great for those who want to head out into whatever winter offers. At home in snow or mud on their own, but compatible with traction devices capable of fitting a larger style boot, though the fit is a bit loose for serious climbing. A pull on waterproof boot, especially one with good insulation, can really change your perspective on cold, wet, wintry weather. If they are easy to jump into and out of it stands to reason you’ll… Full review
Meindl Softline TOP GTX
These are the most comfortable pair of boots (or any other shoes) I have ever worn. The Vibram sole is superb, and although they are full leather boots they are relatively light and breathable. They could easily receive 5 stars, the only reason they didn't is because of one problem that should have been fixed by the manufacturer under warranty. I’ve used these boots for three long distance hikes during a 6-month period, with an average pack weight of 36 pounds. The trails I’ve walked through… Full review