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
Hi-Tec Men's Altitude IV WP
Sorry, people, but the soles on both my boots came loose. Had them reglued, but within a week they came off again. How can it be fixed? Full review
Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid
Boots fall apart within 2 years. I used to buy Lowa boots until my last two pairs de-laminated at the seams. The company would not replace these boots even though they were less than two years old. I had bought Lowa boots for years and I was happy with them, but it's ridiculous to spend all of that money and not have boots last more than 2 years. Fit: They always fit me well. Comfort: Very little break-in time required. Water Resistance: Not very much Traction: Slippery on rocks Construction and… Full review
Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Crew
Proper socks for cold weather activities. They offer good insulation and comfort. In case of very low temperatures, a very thin liner can be used. They are bulky so make sure they fit in your boots without restricting your blood circulation. The only complaint is they really get loose after some usage, but that's a natural feature of wool. Full review
If you can climb in slip-ons, you can do anything in these. They tackle any objective with grace and power. I am sold. FIT: These shoes fit me perfectly. I have a wider foot, but my heel is average. They have no dead spaces, hot spots, or slippage. I bought exactly to my street shoe size (11.5), and they are ideal for all of my pursuits. This is my first pair of slip-ons, and I may be sold for life. COMFORT: These were ready to go pretty much out of the box, with only two long sessions needed to… Full review
Vasque Scree 2.0 Low UltraDry
Durable, waterproof, great foot support, for variety of conditions. Model 2011. So far, the best and most durable shoes/boots I ever had. I am a fan of Vasque in general, and, once I bought Wasatch (higher boots) for summer hikes, I left the domain of blisters for good. So, they are good, but these turned out to be more durable. Some years of Wasatch had issues with sole of the shoe handling sharp rocks, scree and talus in Colorado. Sole on Scree just goes through it all, and outlasted Wasatch. Full review
Salomon Men's X Ultra 2 GTX
Totally comfortable! Absolutely LOVE these shoes!!!! These are my first pair of Salomon shoes, and I'm beyond happy with the quality! I have been using them on mountain trails during the winter, which means mud, snow, more mud—and my feet come out 100% dry. The Grip is fantastic in deep mud, then you find a stream, wash the shoes off, and they are as good as new! One flaw, due to the studded nature of the sole they tend to be pretty slippery on smooth and wet or frozen surfaces. If that little… Full review
Asolo Men's TPS 520 GV
Backpacking and hiking boot for anyone who needs a good solid, sturdy boot, to avoid a rolled ankle. I highly recommend these to anyone who wants to guarantee they can hit any terrain with confidence. I purchased a pair of these for the South Coast Track down in Tasmania, Australia. An 85km (52 miles) track that goes over some very harsh terrain, from mountains to deep rainforest. These boots did not disappoint me. They were comfortable from the start, waterproof (unless of course your entire foot… Full review