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
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
Adidas Terrex Climacool Parley Boat Shoes
These lightweight breathable water shoes drain water out as fast as it can go in. For the ecologically minded, the shoe is made with "Parley Ocean Plastic" recycled from ocean and beach plastic cleanups. The Adidas Terrex Climacool Parley boat shoe is a lightweight, breathable boat shoe that will keep your feet cool and drain water super fast. What caught my eye when I first saw these boat shoes was the fact that they were constructed of a yarn made with "Parley Ocean Plastic". Anything that can… Full review
La Sportiva Men's Wildcat
Very comfortable, but uppers durability is suspect. I used these for hiking/backpacking about 100 miles in hot rocky wet and dry conditions and I really enjoyed them. I did notice my foot moving sideways inside the shoes on uneven ground like on the side of a hill but that was not a deal breaker. Unfortunately I wore a big hole in the inside of the heel under 100 miles and returned. Now I have Ultra Raptors instead which seem to have more durable uppers and heel area. Also try on Ultra Raptors… Full review
Altra Men's Lone Peak 3.0
Great shoe. Use for hiking. Highly recommend. Great shoe. Normally wear a wide and the D width in the Altras fits perfect. The toe box allows the toes and ball of foot ample room. A nice mid range rigidity, comfortable and flexible but still sturdy for long hikes. Used on a 20-mile hike from valley floor of Yosemite up to Cloud's Rest and back down. Mid-foot is secure. Heel does have a bit much padding and slightly loose. Easy remedy by wear to pairs of socks. Overall an extremely comfortable shoe! Full review
Merrell Telluride Lace
Great for everyday use, but not stable enough for longer hikes. Excellent quality and comfort. I was actually looking for a trail runner not for trail running but to be used professionally at work. I went to an REI garage sale when I saw a pair of the Telluride lace shoes and tried them on and bought them. I have had foot problems for years so always wear running or trail runners with my suits. But I get a lot of garbage about it because I have never found such a shoe that looks like a dress shoe. Full review