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
Hi-Tec Men's Altitude IV WP
6 months wear of multi terra low boots and the soles fell off. A very comfortable boot but whats the point of buying them if down the road/trail the damn soles drop off (carry a spare pair or a roll of duct tape). Shoe looked like it was well made, fitted good and was comfortable to wear. Good design let down by poor construction. Soles glued to the uppers; poor glue quality, or poor workmanship or maybe a bit of both. So disappointed to think I had found a good make of shoe and have them literally… Full review
Filson Uplander Boots
Awesome all purpose boot that will outlast me. I have had these boots for over a year now so I feel pretty comfortable reviewing them in depth. I love these boots. I have a fair number of boots and these really are the best ones I own. These were my work boots when I was working in South Asia, they were my hiking boots when I trekked the Annapurna Circuit, they are my hunting boots, and they are my winter boots. So the fit, I was excited about these because they offered them in EE. I usually have… Full review
Garmont Women's Eclipse III GTX XCR
Both good protection and comfortable to walk/run in. Makes the waiking so effortless and easy. I love these shoes. I have been using these shoes for 13 years. I feel that I'm walking effortlessly because of the sole and the shape of the shoe. The shoes are good for walking in light mountain terrain, in the forest, and on the road. Full review
Ozark Trail Boots
If you need only the top half of the boot, these are the boots for you. Trash...need I say more. Shame on you Walmart for selling a product this bad. Full review
This is a review of a water shoe made by the Chinese company CLORTS. These shoes were an unsolicited gift, sent to me by the company. I guess they had seen some of my other reviews on my YouTube channel, "The One Canoe", and wanted me to try out their product as they are new to the North American market. I put the model 3H025A water shoe through its paces on a recent canoe trip on Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada. This was the kind of trip where you are constantly in and out of the canoe, so your… Full review
Vasque Men's Talus Trek Mid UltraDry
Relatively light; comfortable from day one; good grip; waterproof. My regular hike has a fair amount of talus, so these are appropriately named! With a 12yo and a 10yo as hiking companions, I'm not breaking any distance records. Nor am I—yet—on really challenging terrain. I think these would be fine in either scenario, though. They're certainly more than enough for Connecticut's mostly benign trails, even the aforementioned talus. They show a few scrapes and other signs of wear, but I didn't… Full review
Asolo Men's Power Matic 200 GV
I loved these boots. They were everything I was looking for in a full leather option for rough ground. In the end both the boot and the company let me down badly. I paid top dollar for these boots that I expected to be with me for a long time. The previous pair of good mountain boots I had lasted for 12 years. I ordered the boots from the internet and they fitted well which pleased me as I am a 1/2 size and normally need to be tried before I would part with this sort of money. Everything went well… Full review