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
Merrell Kopec Hiking Shoes
This is the most comfortable and sure fitting hiking shoe that I have used on the AT. No slippage at the heel and the comfort is above any other shoe or boot I have used. I purchased these shoes by Merrell to continue my hiking of the Appalachian Trail this year. Once on the trail, I was so amazed with the comfort and fit of the shoe. There was no slippage of the heel as I moved along the uneven trail caused by numerous rocks and roots. This was so important to prevent blisters which can slow down… Full review
Timberland Keel Ridge Men's
Great quality for the price! I bought these for around $90USD and I have been using them regularly for almost three years. Well made of durable materials, lightweight, comfortable, and waterproof up to the laces. Bought these before hiking Eagle Rock Loop in Arkansas. Reasonably priced, on sale for around $90. Fit great right out of the box, I bought size 13 which is my normal shoe size, formed to my foot quickly. I wore them for about two weeks to break them in before making the 30+ mile… Full review
La Sportiva Women's Mythos
Great comfort, perfect multi-pitch and all around shoe—very durable. I had my Mythos for three years and have climbed with it on rock—usually sport climbing, vertical walls, slabs, chimneys, and multi-pitch. I have found it really comfortable (for me a big plus, as I cannot endure pain in my feet for climbing. I simply cannot stand shoes that cause me pain in the foot/toes), and it does not have any of the new "plastic in the sole" P3 technology that La Sportiva does now (which makes your foot… Full review
AKU Slope GTX
Excellently made, good looking boot; perhaps better for people without wide feet! I ended up using these on a five-week trek across the rocky spine of Crete, despite having recently bought a pair of Salomon 4D2's. There were a couple of factors in choosing the Akus: They looked better. This was sort of important for me because I was going to be going in and out of social spaces, family friends' weddings, etc. My pair are a sort of pale sage nubuck with leather heel-pieces They seemed cooler in temp. Full review
Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine
Hyper specific shoe for fast scrambles and technical running. Overall these are a pretty hyper specific shoe. If you're looking for a lightweight approach shoe that has superior weather resistance that you can run in for sky running, or fast and light scrambles this is the shoe. For everyday use it's not much good, but nor is that what it was designed for. I've used this in summer, hiking, fastpacking, and scrambling a variety of trails and running in light snow. I've taken them on glaciers and… Full review
Columbia Men's Redmond Mid Waterproof
A good middle of the road lightweight waterproof hiking shoe that has nice sticky rubber on the soles that would make these an acceptable approach shoe. As I have gotten older I have drifted away from heaver hiking boots and gone to trail runners for much of my backpacking in the summer, but I would still like to find a shoe that is a little more robust than a trail runner, but has plenty cushion and is close to the weight of a trail runner. I normally don't consider Columbia shoes as I have always… Full review
An excellent, solid boot. I used to wear the old Asolo Yukons and wanted something a little more like them—a bit lighter, with the break-in more along the width for overhang—but could not find anything suitable. The Meindls are heavier, more thickly padded, and wider-cut—so they are a little 'clunkier' feeling. BUT the Meindl Perfekt is an unquestionably well-made boot. Meindl Perfekts deserve, and require, a slow and gentle break-in with good care. I am a fan of Obenauf's, which is working… Full review