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
Oboz Men's Bridger Low Waterproof
A sturdy general purpose low hiking shoe. Surprisingly wearable considering their firmness. Great support, deep and durable treads, and reliable waterproofness make this a consistent favorite for all kinds of trails. Might be my all-time favorite low hiker. INTRODUCTION The Bridger Low is the most sturdy and heavy low hiking shoe that Oboz sells. My size 12 pair weighs 2 pounds 6 ounces. They come in two muted color schemes - tan/brown that they call "walnut" and darker/lighter gray that they call… Full review
Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Lo
Very comfortable shoes, but with weakpoints and too expensive for not repairable shoes. I have had several pairs of these shoes of several model years. The foam/fabric heel cushion is not durable and falls apart soon. More than once the upper-shoe leather tears apart on the outside sole line. Worn sole cannot be replaced while there's nothing beneath the sole. Too expensive for non-durable shoes. Full review
Tecnica Men's Forge GTX
On my pair of boots the rand came unstuck along a half-inch section of the toe box after just one week (20 miles of use)!!!! Tecnica replaced them, but this does not bode well for build quality or longevity. Other big problem is the heel box. There is a heavily stitched seam running up the heel, meaning that any space/slack results in rubbing, especially on steep uphill going. Result: blisters. And this is only going to get worse over time as the boots loosen up. Frankly, putting a seam here is… Full review
Esatto Men's Classic Hiker
2018 - Ordered my boots at the end of January 2018. He CASHED my check immediately. Three months later and an email to him and a couple of phone messages left for him and he finally says it will be 4-6weeks for delivery. Did not hear from him for 8 1/2 weeks. I sent an email and another email and still no reply. Is this guy a FRAUD?? I want a refund or boots !!!! Paid for them, but five months and no boots and and Alex won’t respond to inquires about when I will receive them. Full review
Luna Sandals Origen 2.0
Great trail running and hiking sandals with long lasting materials and attention to detail in manufacture. One of the few chances to buy stuff not made in China...Made in USA. The Luna Origen is an odd mix in that its a progression in the Luna stable but also a look back to the sandal brand's beginnings. The short version is that a Chap called Christopher McDougall goes on a discovery which through process he "discovers" a bunch of Mexican Natives who use running as a pillar of their life. This… Full review
Xero Shoes DIY 4mm Kit
It's a kit. You make it and then you have the skinniest sandals you can get. Simple really... Basically you get a thin sole unit 4mm in this case and a 6mm if you want the heavier version. You also get a set of cords and a hole punch. That's the kit. Following the instructions online or in the kit you measure your foot. Punch holes for the laces and assemble your own sandals, cutting off any excess sole rubber (they come in size bands and you cut to your specific fit). They are surprisingly good… Full review
Xero Shoes Men's Z-Trail
If minimalist is your thing these are a good offering. Having run more than 200 miles in them and used them for day-to-day wear in between they have been robust and are very light. I run in sandals and have used a mixture, over time, to include Luna and Earth Runner sandals. These are a slightly different take in that they use an over strap in the front of the sandal so are very nice for those people who don't like things between their toes. Light on the foot they are very hard wearing, but don't… Full review