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
Mion Men's Current Sandal
Had mine for more than 10 years they are amazing I use them in the beach, snow, mud etc.... Best sandals I've ever owned Keen , Merrill and others should look into this design Sam Full review
Limmer Men's Standard
Well constructed full leather boot for anyone willing to make an investment in a boot that will last decades. Perfect for hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, or any activity in which support and traction are important. I received my Limmer Standards as a gift towards the end of 2013 and have had them on my feet for most of the time since then. Comfort and Fit: Like any New Hampshire relationship, it takes a long time for Limmers to become comfortable with your feet. But with steady determination… Full review
Lowa Men's Renegade Pro GTX Mid
Most comfortable boots I've EVER worn! Comfortable right out of the box. No break-in needed. My son had the same experience, and even uses them for work in construction. No work boots can compete for comfort. My 39-year-old son and I both wear these boots. He has foot problems (plantar fasciitis), and these are the only footwear that allows him to hike with a heavy backpack and enjoy a measure of comfort. He's had his for several years, and even uses them for work in construction, where they get… Full review
Fox River Pioneer Crew Socks
These socks dry quickly and offer great comfort at a reasonable price. You can purchase three pairs of these for the price of other brands. I love these socks. They fit well and wear like iron. They are easy to care for also. Just throw them in regular cold wash and you are all set. They hold up well in the dryer also. I brought a three pack of these socks and they cost about the same as other brands at one sock. I have had the socks, three pack, and have hiked a gazillion miles and they still look… Full review
The North Face Arctic Hedgehog Tall Boot
Overall this boot is a great value; rigid, watertight but reasonably breathable, and overall great construction and forethought. I have used these boots in the Canadian Rockies during the most challenging season, early spring thaw, when plenty of mud, ice, unforeseen puddles, and concealed slippery roots are all lying in wait for a possible mishap, but the footwear performs flawlessly; great traction, insulated, and superior support without many hot-spots. When you're hiking, one should generally… Full review
Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Aero Sport
I wanted to love these hiking shoes, but they just didn't win me over after multiple backcountry hiking trips. They did not hold up in the arch area for comfort on long backpacking trips. Merrell All Out Blaze Aero hiking shoes Good traction on soles Extra rubber protection in the toe box I bought these shoes at REI during a sale. I tried them on and was super impressed with how comfortable they felt. I never would have guessed that these were about to be one of the worst shoes for backpacking. Full review
Mion Men's Tide Scramble
Great shoes, perhaps the best I've ever owned. Rugged and long lasting. Best shoes I've ever owned. Still wear my first pair daily after 10 years. It's a shame they're not made anymore. Nothing compare. Full review