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
AKU Men's Zenith Leather
This model is discontinued, I can't find them anywhere. Very comfortable. I bought mine for $90 on Sierra Trading Post. I have crossed streams etc. After reading the negative reviews here, and had no waterproof issues. I never put anything on them either. Maybe Aku's manufacturing is inconsistent. I love the leather interior lining, because it doesn't pick up burrs or other organic splintery things like fabrics do. The regular price is a bit much. They are rather lightweight, comfortable. I wear… Full review
Galibier Super Guide
Last a lifetime. They are perfection for what they are designed for — mountaineering. But they also work as a rugged all purpose boot. I bought mine in the early '70s for hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, general wear, on the job. Put them away in the '90s in favor of lighter "modern" boots, which I've been very disappointed in. Just dug them out of the "archives" and they are like I never left them. Full review
Ozark Trail Men's Hikers
Bought them a couple of years ago because I was replacing a fence at my Maw's place and the shoes I had on were wasted by the cement, mud, and water. Rarely wore them until recently. Just discovered the soft rubber tread has worn thru after maybe two weeks of daily use. Totally a waste of whatever I paid for them Another worthless "Made in China for as cheap as possible" Walmart product :-( Full review
Lowa Men's Tibet Pro GTX
Serious boot for serious environments! These boots are great for the serious tramper (or hiking/backpacking if you're not in New Zealand) or hunter. Very rugged boot and very well made (not made in China but handcrafted in Europe(Germany)). The boots are not insulated, so if you're going into snow country then you best have warm socks or an insulated boot. Breathes exceptionally well — have not had a problem with sweat buildup. Just make sure you take care of them I.E wash them when you're back… Full review
Salewa Men's Raven 2 GTX
Very well made, very high quality. May not be the perfect match for every foot and ankle. The Lamborghini of boots. Very rigid shank even though it's not steel, provides enough flex in the front of the foot for comfortable movement. Top quality materials. I purchased these a few days ago after having done thorough research and trying on multiple other comparable boots. I have begun to notice, after three days of wearing, some slow to arise comfort issues, primarily with the footbed design that's… Full review
Asolo Women's AFX 520 GTX
Paid $300, sole has separated. Love the boot, but after sitting in the closet for over year without use the sole has disintegrated. Full review
VIM & VIGR Nylon Compression Socks (20-30 mmHg)
Over the calf moderate compression sock helps recovery during and after exercise. Very thin fabric allows good ventilation. I am quite a fan of compression socks in general and find they are very helpful for recovery after skiing, hiking, or backpacking. They certainly help prevent swelling and muscle soreness in the calves after strenuous excessive. Since I always wear thin socks when hiking and backpacking I was anxious to try these Vim & Vigr compression socks. Constructed of nylon and spandex… Full review