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
Herman Men's Survivor
I also bought these boots, and wear them almost every day. I work with a lot of firewood and am very hard on boots. Besides my Under Armour boots, these are one of the best pairs I have had in a while. Full review
Teva Men's Churn
Excellent shoe. Excellent shoes, period. Not just water shoes, but everyday walking shoes. In fact I have been wearing almost nothing but these Teva Churns for about five years now. Almost have worn out one pair and set them aside for work shoes like digging in the garden or whatever dirty work. Wearing a pair now that is about 1.5 to 2 years old and have two more pairs still brand new in the box waiting on deck for when my daily pair wears out. I have yet in 5 years even worn them in the water… Full review
Herman Men's Survivor
I have owned two pair of Herman Survivor boots and with BOTH of them the glued on soles came loose from the uppers in a short time — less than 6 months. I will NEVER EVER BUY this brand again. Spend your money on something else. These look good, but are CHEAPLY made. Factory must not have any standards! Full review
The North Face Men's Ultra Guide
This shoe is a good trail running and longer distance day hike shoe with light daypacks. They are recommended, but may have durability issues, as they don't have Vibram soles like some other TNF trail shoes. These Ultra Guides are good for trail running and longer distance day hikes with light day packs. They offer good, aggressive tread for loose gravel, sand, and mud, yet still offer good wet/dry rock stability for a hiking shoe. My first hike in these was 11 miles through five peaks in western… Full review
Lowa Women's S-Curve Mesh
Great light comfy shoe for walking or running. Lots of mesh for ventilation, however, it's not as durable. Loved the shoe when I got it last October. It didn't need a lot of break in. I didn't do much running in them, but all the vents kept my feet pretty cool all summer while working at a camp. I was disappointed in how fast holes formed on the sides next to my toes under what I feel was fairly moderate use. I noticed increased ventilation partway through this summer and found the mesh next to… Full review
Teva Men's Hurricane XLT
An excellent all around, multi-tasking and able to get the job done product. Great in a cinch, or a clinch. Plant this image in your head—it's day one (or maybe day #13) and after all your planning and spending and weighing and fretting and traveling you're on the trail, but the trail is starting to get the better of you and even though you did your weekend hikes and strapped on your pack as much as you could, your body is giving out and it's sending all of its frustrations right down into your… Full review
Brooks Ravenna 3
Very durable, comfy, good looking shoe. Have been running in Brooks for about 10 years and won't be switching anytime soon. Always make a good shoe. Full review