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
Red Wing Heavy Weight Mid Calf Sock
Red Wing heavy weight sock (#97392). These are a nice heavy duty wool blend sock. I have owned several pairs over the years; they hold up well. They don't stretch out, and don't tear easily. A good sock. Like was said on another website, these socks are the best sock he has ever owned. I could not say it any better than that. They last long enough you forget just how long you have had them before you need another pair. Full review
Keen Men's Durand Waterproof Mid
Durable, comfortable, and lightweight. Great for wide flat feet. Another writer says they are not for serious hiking, but rather for looking like an outdoorsy person. I don't know what this writer considers real hiking, but this is what I do in them. I never see a trail where I go cause I'm a land surveyor. I am in swamps, hills, creeks going up, down, through thick underbrush, rocks, sand, and any other conditions you can imagine. These boots do it all. I'm on my third pair and ready for a… Full review
Bridgedale Men's Hike Lightweight Boot Coolmax Comfort
Lightweight and cool enough for summer use for those like me who have hot feet. Good for hundreds of miles of blister-free walking. After boots, socks are probably the most crucial decision any walker, hiker, or trekker will make yet they are seriously underrated. The humble sock is a vital piece of kit and deserves a great deal of consideration to find the right pair. I learned the hard way… I ended up abandoning a long distance trail after two days because I thought I could get away with a… Full review
Herman Men's Survivor
Soles of the shoes disintegrated after sitting in my closet for six months. I NEVER wore them. They were purchased to replace my old Merrels. Soles of the shoes disintegrated after sitting in my closet for six months. I NEVER wore them. They were purchased to replace my old Merrells. Full review
These boots have held up for decades of hiking. These Vasque Montana Boots, Italian name Montagna meaning mountain, are a full grain leather boot with 3/4 shank which allows the toe to flex for comfortable hiking yet provide the rigidity and ankle support to adhere to varied terrain. The Vibram soles are labeled Vibram Montagna Block. My last pair of Vasque Montana boots lasted for decades of extensive hiking when I was younger. A tough durable boot, crampon-compatible. Up rock cliffs, slog thru… Full review
Source Men's Gobi
A great sandal. Ideal for everyday use during 365 days a year if the weather lets you. Great on all types of terrain, very long lasting, and easy to clean. I came across these sandals over 12 years ago. Since then they are my summer shoes, and I use them in the winter if the weather lets me. I live in Formentera, Spain, and we have all types of terrain. They are great for walking, trekking, on the beach, casual wear, and I use them on rain days as they are fast drying. I put them on when I start… Full review
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 boot capable of basic mountaineering routes in summer and winter conditions. 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… Full review