Footwear

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.

Learn more about choosing footwear below »

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.

Need more help? Read our Guide to Outdoor Footwear and The Wet Foot Test: Find Your Foot Type.

Recent Footwear Product Reviews

rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Palladium Pallabrousse

Lightweight hikers for day or overnight use. Okay, Palladium may not be considered world class hiking boots—they tend to fall under the "fashion footwear" category—but I'll remind the reader that the Pallabrousse was developed after WWII for the French Foreign Legion, so their pedigree is sound. They're more known for the canvas models (variants are still made in Israel as well), but I'm reviewing the leather Pallabrousse model. No longer made in France, these (like most footwear) are now made… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Asolo Men's AFX 520

Good general use hiking and backpacking mountain boot. I'm on my third pair of these great boots...my guess is that these were made in the 1990s or early 2000s. The first pair was purchased at REI as a closeout (around $85). This latest pair I purchased on eBay as brand new old stock (around $70). I know that Asolo still makes the 520 model, but I prefer to the lower profile and more traditional appearance of the older AFX version, so much so that I hunt them down. The last pair I had were Gore-Tex… Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
Crispi Svartisen GTX BC

A solidly built, high-end NNN-BC boot that delivers on both touring and turning performance. The 2-buckle, hinged plastic ankle cuff boosts downhill control. A good choice for messing about in the Vermont woods or Norwegian style hut-to-hut touring with summits on the side. Back in the '90s, as plastic boots were rising to their current dominance in the backcountry ski world, I was a regular on rec.skiing.backountry, an online bulletin board for back country skiers. I was then and remain a proponent… Full review

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
La Sportiva Men's TX3

The La Sportiva TX3 is an approach shoe, which means that it is intended for both hiking and scrambling or light rock climbing. Like many of the best approach shoes, it has sole made from rubber that is very sticky and grippy on rocks, has the kind of close fit that rock climbers like, and a longer run of laces than a typical hiking shoe that helps them fit almost "like a glove." At the same time, their mesh uppers, cushioned midsole, and healthy tread depth make them better than most approach shoes… Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
Hoka Men's Kaha Gore-Tex

The Hoka Kaha GTX is an updated version of the Hoka Kaha that now features a waterproof Gore-Tex bootie where the previous version had an eVent waterproof lining. The Hoka Kaha GTX's most notable characteristics are the outstanding comfort and stability that is unique to the patented sole design used across entire Hoka line of shoes. The Hoka Kaha GTX takes that unique sole design and combines it with a well thought out leather upper to make a very lightweight, waterproof hiking and backpacking… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
La Sportiva Men's Nepal Cube GTX

My definite winter boot. Couldn't be happier! I needed some stiff boot for winter mountaineering and as per multiple friends' recommendations I was going to buy the trusted Nepal Evo. That was until I started digging a little more into the Nepal series... Enter the Cube! I admit, it was a gamble because there where very few reviews and no references from any fellow hiker. Cube's main selling point compared to the Evo is the carbon honeycomb insole that ups the price +160€ but adds extra warmth… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Vargo Titanium Pocket Cleats

Excellent traction for the weight. Once set up correctly, will stay in place. Mine in size Large weigh only 135 grams. Full review