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
Vasque Men's Breeze GTX XCR
Thanks to these shoes, I fractured my tailbone and was a huge liability to my fellow travellers. Absolutely no traction on wet rock, wet limestone, and mossy inclines, which makes this basically useless when I was travelling during the rainy season in Nepal's hills, mountains and caves. Feet slip no matter how tightly laced, leading to bruising under my toenails. I could have done better with my sneakers. That's how bad my experience was. Fair walking shoes. Pathetic wet ground traction. Low water… Full review
Sturdy flip-flops that can take on whatever you throw at them. Loved them for camp shoes and just every day sandals. My wife and I both got a pair of these sandals and were both a little skeptical of them at first. They take a few weeks to break in, but so do most shoes/sandals. My wife first thought that I got her the wrong size but after a few weeks of breaking them in they started to show their true colors. We took them with us on our road trip to the western US and they became our primary… Full review
Sof Sole Airr Orthotic Performance Insoles Shoe Size
Insole was recommended to me through a friend, and i needed it for my son who was on his way to the army, and the promotion said if you purchase 20.00 you will have your shipment in 24 hours and after my credit card was charged on june 26, 2017 and got a email the next day stating: "I apologize in advance for this email. Unfortunately, one of the items on your recentorder is currently on back order (we are awaiting the arrival of a shipment from the manufacturer), and we were unable to update our… Full review
OOFOS OOcloog (Sport Clog)
If you are seeking a comfy "recovery shoe," this shoe can't be beat! In addition to wearing them around camp or after a big hike/run, they are so versatile and classy that they can be worn at work. No matter what you do for work, if you are on your feet all day, you'll love these shoes. As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I was able to test the Men's OOcloog Project Pink Clog. I won a gift card from The Dyrt in May and ordered a pair for myself and my husband. What I like most about these shoes: Very comfortable… Full review
Swiss Barefoot Company Free Your Feet (Classic Swiss)
Outdoors socks made in dyneema - which according to wiki is 8-15 times stronger than steel. Protects the feet from stings and cuts, while at the same time keeping them warm. I love running and doing outdoors stuff in these. They are very light (perhaps 50 grams each?) and versatile. I use them for running and forest walking, climbing etc now, but can see many other uses for them. For example next time I go sea kayaking I will bring them instead of ordinary shoes or sandals, as they dry quickly… Full review
Danner Men's Light II
Nice boots, made in America, and will last forever. I found these boots at a Big-Rays tent sale in a beat up box and looking like they'd been there awhile. Anyway, I couldnt believe it when i saw they had been marked down from $280 to only $35. Even more surprising, they fit me perfectly, so I couldnt pass them up. I may not be the best reviewer of hiking boots, as my only other pair before this were a cheap pair of uncomfortable Brahmas, but these boots are quality. I've had them for around… Full review
Danner Men's Light II
A great boot with minimal break-in time, can be resoled and is offered in a narrow width. This is a great boot that will last hundreds of miles. Comfortable right out of the box, the break-in time is minimal. The Kletterlift outsole offers superb traction and durability while the EVA midsole offers superb shock absorption. I put hundreds of miles on these boots as a forest ranger, production assistant for movie crews and on countless long day hikes. The only place I ever got blisters were on my… Full review