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
Meindl Burma Pro GTX
The Burma Pro GTX is a men's mid-mountain walking boot designed by Meindl. It's a long distance hiking boots capable of basic mountaineering routes. Having described these as one of my favourite bits of kit in my reviewer of the month article I thought I had better do them justice with a review. Germans certainly know how to make boots (I also owned pair of HanWag mountaineering boots and they saved a trip to the alps). I have walked for hundreds of miles in these boots and not suffered a single… Full review
Salomon Men's X Ultra Mid 3 Aero
The Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 Aero's are my "tweeners." They perfectly fill the gap between my low-top Salomon X Ultra 3 and my Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX hiking/backpacking footwear. Featherlight, cushiony comfort, wraparound support and Gecko-like grip make these my favorite for hiking and backpacking when pack weights are 35 lbs. or less. Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 Aero https://www.salomon.com/en-us/shop/product/x-ultra-mid-3-aero.html#1191=8430… Full review
Pakems Chamonix - Mesh
Chamonix mesh style shoes from Pakems are great water or camp shoes for backpacking. The mesh drains water easily, but the firm, solid sole is contoured to provide good traction. In a pinch, I could hike in them if my hiking shoes failed. Pakems provide a secure platform on slippery rocks and fold flat so they are compact in the pack. They are comfortable to wear in camp. They also make a good travel shoe. Pakems are a packable “real” shoe with a sole and sturdy fabric, but with a clever design… Full review
Oboz Women's Sawtooth Low
Really comfortable, but dangerous on wet tracks, tiles, granite, or cobblestones as they slip just like wearing ice skates on ice! Really comfortable but lethal on wet tracks, tiles, granite, or cobblestones as they slip just like wearing ice skates on ice! Have witnessed another person slip and fall and noticed she was wearing the same Oboz hikers. Very disappointed as was on a nine-week overseas walking holiday in Italy, Croatia, France, and Great Britain where surfaces and weather conditions… Full review
evolv Men's Cruzer Psyche
Well-made shoe that does the job and is super lightweight. Fits well. The Evolv Cruzer Psyche is a very conventionally-designed shoe that came AFTER the Evolv Cruzer, which has an unconventional upper in the heel area. Its one departure from classic shoe construction is an overlapping slit instead of a tongue. This non-tongue seems to work just fine, makes entry a touch easier, and is very comfortable. I don't climb; I hike and backpack in this shoe with 30 pounds or less on my back, no poles,… Full review
NRS HydroSkin G2 Socks
A great sock for wet conditions. Perfect for kayaking, canoeing, or rafting! Great in cool weather or with cold water. A great insulator in cold water and or cool weather. I wear under river sandals or with sneakers when rafting Another great use is in harsh winter snow and ice conditions with a hiking boot or insulated pac shoe. Full review
Salewa Women's Rapace GTX
Great all-around lightweight boots for scrambly terrain. Great for summer outings. I love these boots. I've used mine intensely for the last three years and they are still good as gold. They are extremely comfortable and very lightweight. They fit my feet (I've got wide and flat feet) perfectly and don't even notice them on my foot due to their light weight. They are my preferred pair for summer outings in rocky terrain and scrambly adventures. The edges are perfect for scrambling and the soles… Full review