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
Kayland Hyper Traction
This is one really awesome boot! I bought Hyper Traction for winter mountaineering and ice climbing. For these pursuits correct fit is essential as cold feet is the result otherwise. I have a slightly wide foot and my left foot is slightly bigger than my right. When it comes to American shoes, the difference is not noticeable and no additional consideration for fit is necessary. But when it comes to mountaineering boots many Italian welts do not accommodate my width without creating detrimental… Full review
Asolo Men's Expert GV
Great lightweight versatile boot. I bought these boots 8 years ago from REI. I have some challenges with the Italian welt at times. It seems my foot is slightly wide, although never noticed with American shoes. As a result, some Italian models are just too narrow, while other models from the same manufacturer are a great fit. I bought the Asolo Men’s Expert GV for the spring couloir climbing season in Colorado. For that reason I did not need a heavily insulated boot, but did need waterproof. Full review
This is a great fitting, comfortable, lighter weight hiking boot that falls short on durability and short on the manufacturer's claims. I actually bought these boots for my work. I usually average about 5 miles a day walking trails, gravel/dirt roads, and some paved walkways. Like most people I was looking for something comfortable and well fitting, lighter weight, durable, with good support and traction. I was also wanting an affordable "made in USA" boot. I settled on these and had them shipped… Full review
Limmer Men's Light-Weight
Trust your gut instinct. If you think they're too tight, don't buy them despite what they say about the break-in process. There's no turning back once you try to start breaking them in and you'll be out a lot of money and some toenails to boot. Advertised as the best hiking boot of all time, and it very well could be, as long as the fit is right. I went to the shop in Intervale and had my feet measured. I have been backpacking for almost 20 years and have always worn size 11 boots. I was told that… Full review
Salomon Men's XT Wings 3
Highly structured stability trail runners with bombproof durability, good grip, and comfort. I'm on my 4th pair of this shoe, which was called the XT Wings. Fit: Salomon tends to run narrow but this fits reasonably true to my medium wide foot. The toebox is pleasingly wide and the heel cup is narrow, which I love. Comfort: Runs firm compared to most road shoes. I run on the road without issues. Close fit, helped by great speed laces. Not comfortable at all without socks. Support: Fantastic — this… Full review
Teva Kenetic Circuit
Could walk for miles, and did many times. Full review
Salewa Men's Mountain Trainer
This is a robust, grippy, if heavy and stiff soled, shoe that is great for rocky off-track terrain with a backpack. This review is for the non-Goretex version, which is the same shoe as the Goretex model sans membrane. I bought a pair last year and they are great for scrambling on talus slopes + general backpacking. Fit The shoe is suitable for those with a wider and low volume foot, which can be difficult to shop for. They are wider than the wide fit version of the Asolo Fugitive, for example,… Full review