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
Lightweight traction for winter hiking. A great solution unless you see enough ice or snow conditions that require crampons. Best worn with a boot that has a reasonably rigid midsole and/or partial or full shank. When I threw these into my pack on Saturday, it occurred to me that I hadn't reviewed them. Though the snow held off and conditions weren't icy enough to need them, Kahtoola's Microspikes are like a security blanket—effectively one of the ten essentials for a cold weather hike that doesn't… Full review
Lowa Men's Renegade II LL Lo
Long lasting shoes build Lowa quality! I typically use my shoes for approach and hikes. So I need a great support when carrying climbing gear. The Lowa Renegade have a polyurethane mid sole, which is heavier but will not collapse over time or under heavy load. They are made of nubuck (is top-grain cattle leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give a slight nap of short protein fibers, producing a velvet-like), so they are warm. I even walk with them during winter… Full review
Meindl Softline TOP GTX
These are the most comfortable boots I have ever worn, just took time to break in. I have slightly wide feet; yet despite that these boots are slightly narrow, they stretched in a couple of weeks of breaking in. Perfect fit. The best boots I have ever worn. I have slightly wide feet, and still find them comfortable, though they started off narrow because in a couple of weeks time they stretched to the shape of my feet, getting more comfortable with time. They have a speed lacing feature. They proved… Full review
Oboz Women's Sawtooth Low Waterproof
Very comfortable. No break-in necessary. Size was true. Other hiking shoes I have tried seem to be too big at the ankle. Full review
Galibier Super Guide
Great boots, flawless execution. The quality is fantastic with respect to stitch work, stitches sealing, leather quality, finishing, inside of the boots. Since the boots were coming from France to the USA, I was not charged the VAT. There are no high altitude mountains in the part of Texas I currently live, but they will be intensively used on local hikes. Just picked them up from the local USPS today (01/07/2019). Got the pair in EU size 42 from Au Vieux Campeur In France and the experience in… Full review
The North Face Men's Chilkats
Not durable! Pretty comfortable boots, but I wore them maybe twice a year for five years, and then last night the rubber portion broke away from the leather just like these other reviewers experienced. I'll order new boots from someone else next time. Full review
Mammut Men's Kento High GTX
Very light, but vulnerable and smelly (?) I came across this type of shoes in Zermatt and was struck by both its characteristics, and its low price (particularly for Zermatt and Switzerland): 279 CHF/ 253 €. It also stood out by being made of "old fashioned" one piece leather, while still appearing to be light and compact. I did not intend to buy new boots, having bought my previous ones only two years before and being pretty satisfied with those. But I seized the opportunity, also hoping to… Full review