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
La Sportiva Women's Oxygym
This is an excellent versatile climbing shoe for a beginner. Comfortable and as good outside the gym as it is in the gym. Excellent fit. I tried on various hiking shoes that were beginner shoes and they were all extremely uncomfortable. AL the salespeople were telling me that the shoe had to fit small or tight in order to climb properly and that the shoes would break in and stretch and eventually stretch and fit my foot like a glove. I thought that was nonsense. Finally a salesperson told… Full review
La Sportiva Men's Synthesis Mid GTX
Excelemt lightweight hiking shoe that is a great breathable shoefor damp /wet conditions. I was looking for a good day hiking shoe for some local trails in the Mission Gorge area her in San Diego. I tried these on and were surprised at how lightweight and comfortable they were for the task. Not like the other bulkier, heavier hiking shoes I've worn and tried on. But I was skeptical about how they'd perform, particularly with this new GoreTex lining. To my surprise they were great, very comfortable… Full review
Salomon Men's X Ultra 2
These shoes are comfortable and supportive; stood up to a 65-mile backpacking trek with 35-40 lbs pack; could use a little more toe room. This is my second Salomon trail-hiking shoe. I initially tried the XA Pro 3D, but it just didn't offer enough protection in the sole against rocks. The X Ultra 2 has that extra bit of cushioning that keeps my feet from feeling like they've been beaten with a hammer after miles on a rocky trail. Salomon sizes run a little small, so I had to get a 9 1/2, compared… Full review
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
Tredagain Classic Sandal
Sturdy flip-flops that can take on whatever you throw at them. Loved them for camp shoes and just everyday 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 U.S. and they became our primary… Full review
Sof Sole Airr Orthotic
Insole was recommended to me through a friend, and I needed it for my son who was on his way to the army. The promotion said if you purchase $20 you will have your shipment in 24 hours. After my credit card was charged on June 26, 2017, got an email the next day stating: "I apologize in advance for this email. Unfortunately, one of the items on your recent order is currently on back order (we are awaiting the arrival of a shipment from the manufacturer), and we were unable to update our inventory… Full review
OOFOS OOcloog 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