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
Vibram Men's FiveFingers Spyridon LS
Vibram’s Spyridon MR is a fivefinger shoe intended for trail running. Design features that make these better for trails are a collar that helps keep stones out, a quick pull lacing system, a leather piece across the top that provides some lateral stability, and mesh built into the sole to blunt the impact of rocks underfoot. I view these as a day hiker best suited for less rugged trails and lighter loads, but I have found them very comfortable. This review is of my second pair; I wore the soles… Full review
Asolo Avalon GTX
Great boots, extremely comfortable, great design, a lot of fun for a lot of time. My foot fits perfect, no pain, good space for your toes, just perfect! Great shoelaces! I never had this sensation of being extra comfortable, but with this one I have the experience of it, feels like you have a light armor around your feet. I didn't have a big storm around me, so I couldn't check the water resistance, but it looks great and is warm enough to feel great and keep walking. I trust in Asolo. They are… Full review
OOFOS OOmg Low Shoe
A terrific water shoe that can double as a recovery camp shoe. Lightweight and doesn't absorb water. Getting ready for a long-distance backpacking trip in the Sierra of California I knew I would need to bring along a shoe for the numerous water crossings I would encounter. Almost reading my mind I got an email from a marketing rep for Oofos with information about their new OOmg Low Shoe. This was the first foray from OOfos into a shoe like sandal. I instantly saw the potential for a combination… Full review
Scarpa Men's ZG 65 XCR
How Scarpa is getting away with churning out this crap is beyond me! My pair also failed dramatically. The sole just peeled away from the boot after a few hundred miles. I thought the sole wore away quickly as well. The photo was taken in early August this year, I bought them in 2012. Whilst they were 5 years old, they had not done many miles at all, as I now have trouble with my knees and used them primarily for paragliding. I see that some people have had a positive experience with these boots,… Full review
Sorel Men's Caribou
Sorel is not what they used to be. Once a big corporation starts going "We can make things cheaper" what do you get? After three months they started to crack and split at the toe bend. After talking to other people these boots were not defective, this is a manufacturing flaw. So I broke out my old 20-year-old Sorels that were made by Sorel. Started looking at the Baffin Evolution for this winter Lots of positives, but if your liners are getting wet then so are your feet—not good at -20°. The… Full review
Ecco Biom Hike GTX 1.7
Tall hiking boots. Comfortable out of the box and need little or no breaking in. The Ecco Biom Hike 1.7 boots are available in cocoa brown/mocha as shown here, or black Danish footwear manufacturer Ecco makes its Biom Hike boots in two shaft lengths. It uses the same brand name for both, which can be confusing. Amazon UK adds to the confusion by describing the tall variant as “low trekking and walking shoes”. In the US the picture is clearer because the mid and tall variants are known as the… Full review
Merrell Moab 2 Mid Gore-Tex
was looking for a nice waterproof day hiker / weekend trip boot. Great looks, good comfort, reputable brand. However, terrible quality, and even worse customer service. Bought these from Gander Mountain for use on local hikes and some short 3-4 nighters. Love the look and feel of these—fairly lightweight for a hiker this size, and the waterproof claim is well-earned. But the praise stops there. Sadly, these boots have been to the shoe repair shop three times. The very first time I pulled them… Full review