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
Five Ten Men's Camp Four
These are my go-to shoes for day hikes. I've done 1 or 2 light overnights (15-20lbs) in these when I knew it'd be dry and I would appreciate the traction due to rocky terrain. I have pretty average feet, so I'm not sure if that's why I didn't have the sizing problems the other reviewers had or not. These shoes were comfy out of the box with all the sock options I threw at them. These shoes were also very comfortable during hot Joshua Tree summer days. They vented heat really well but you sacrifice… Full review
Five Ten Men's Exum Guide
Great boot that fills the gap between Burly Backpacking Tank and Wispy Barely there Trailrunner. I'm going to get this out of the way first since it's ultimately not very important. My pair is a light gray, almost white color. The first time I wore them on a hike (16 miles up Icebox Canyon in the summer so lots of dust) they looked beat all to heck. This in no way effected their performance but it looked like they were old and beat up. I've worn them for a little bit of everything, backpacking… Full review
Scarpa Kinesis Pro GTX
Ultimate heavy-duty backpacking boot — long distance, heavy loads — incredible support, comfort, and durability. I bought these to replace my worn-out Scarpa Barun GTXs (got several years out of them). I may have the fortune to find that the Scarpa foot-last fits my foot perfectly. These boots fit true to size. What can I say? Incredible comfort, support, and performance. These are well-made, well designed, heavy-duty backpacking boots. Designed for multi-day, long distance hiking/backpacking… Full review
Brooks Men's Cascadia 9
This may be the most comfortable shoe I've ever owned. Great for training, early morning walks, and light day hiking. My feet are notoriously difficult to fit. I have long toes... wide fore-feet (bunions)... narrow heel... no arches... and size 14. These all combine to make shoe purchasing a chore every time. With the Cascadias, I have found the holy grail of training shoes for my feet. Fit is excellent, with lots of room for my toes and bunions, without having my feet slip around in the shoe. Break-in… Full review
Galibier Super Guide
I bought a very clean, low miles, used pair in '79 and they fit me like they were made expressly for my foot! I am not a real 'mountaineer' like some of you folks. l just used them strictly for backpacking in the San Gabriel-San Bernardino mountains in summer and wore them all winter as work and walk around in the snow when I lived up in the San Bernardino Mts at 7,500 ft. They were so confidence inspiring I gave them to a friend who really needs them and am now on the website drooling over a new… Full review
Herman Men's Survivor
Brand new, one day at work, got home, took them off and smelled mildew strongly. My feet now have athletes foot. Tried everything to battle the odor but failed. I have very good hygiene and when I took my boots off a very strong odor of mold bursted out, so I bought foot powder deodorant and several different foot care products, but nothing works. I was embarrassed when I was visiting a friend. I had to take my boots off to enter his home, that was the last straw. I threw them in the garbage. I… Full review
The North Face Men's Chilkats
My boots also fell apart in the same place. I've had these boots for a few years. Hardly wear them. Have always worn L.L. Bean boots, but a few years ago I ran into these and thought I'd try them. Didn't have the need to use them a lot until this winter. Got them out of my closet sitting next to my other boots. Second day wearing them they fell apart where the leather meets the rubber. Never had a pair of boots do this. I've read other complaints about this and North Face says it's a storage issue… Full review