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 how to choose 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 4.5 of 5 stars
Vibram FiveFingers Trek Ascent Insulated

They extend cold weather running. Added protection for the feet. And extremely lightweight and flexible. This is my third winter with my Insulated Trek Ascents. They definitely lengthen my minimalist running season (my first preference is barefoot) into the winter month. I bought a size up as suggested by the website. They fit good barefoot or with an extremely lightweight sock, but the next pair I order will be a size larger than that. Just so it’s clear, my regular Vibram FiveFingers are a size… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Vibram Men's FiveFingers Trek Ascent

Incredible grip. Very lightweight. My choice of footwear is typically none—I prefer barefooting for my warm weather adventures. When a shoe is required (over stimulated feet, the terrain gets too rocky) one of my go-to shoes is the Trek Ascent. They simply protect my feet and allow me to carry on. Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
Scarpa Men's F1

Looking for a lightweight, flexible AT boot which I can fit a wide foot into following some foot surgery. Very accommodating thermal fitting options, including a mold-able outer shell I had to sit out last year's season here in Colorado due to extended recovery following bone spur removal surgery. Nevertheless, I'm back in the saddle so to speak and am looking to expand into the AT realm. Following doing a fair bit of boot research and getting good advice from a Scarpa rep I spoke with I chose the… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Kahtoola MICROspikes

ALL SEASONS. Keep exploring and protect yourself on snow, ice, wet leaves, steep bushwacking... You can look around and price shop. Or just go get the best. I love mine and bought them for the whole family. Noticed it's a mandatory piece of equipment for some on hill employees at some larger resort. I saw them clipped to packs and belts all over the resort. The quick, just in case, footing protection.   Full review

rated 2.5 of 5 stars
Garmont Men's Dragontail MNT GTX

Very solid hiking shoes; but they are not entirely comfortable. These are superbly-made shoes, heavy duty hiking shoes rather than a boots; but, so far, I am not entirely happy with them. The problem is the sizing. I have LOWA and Hanwag shoes and boots, all in European size 42; but the Garmont runs small in both length and width and I do not have wide feet. Being fairly rigid, they may need to be broken in; but I have never had this issue with shoes of any kind before.  I ordered the shoes through… Full review

rated 0.5 of 5 stars
Esatto Men's Classic Hiker

My experience with Esatto Custom Boots was misleading and terrible. When boots first came back they were as big as gumboots (I actually did the measurements a little less (used a lightweight sock and angled the marker in on the outline) as I don't like a larger fitting boot). My Sorels (with removable liner) were smaller (see pics). I sent them back for resizing and within a few months got them back (this was with Alex). Still, the boots were not much smaller, still larger over my Sorel winter boots… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Keen Men's Koven

Recommended to me by a distance hiker who does sections of the PCT. Like house slippers for comfort; the waterproof version are a tad hot for warmer weather, but I have been wearing these for outdoor stuff for two years and I am most pleased. If you allow water to pour over the sides of the shoes, they are no longer called waterproof. I wore these in a small boat all day on Monday and feet were still dry in spite of squalls of very heavy rainfall. Wonderful hiking shoes! No additional details needed. Full review