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
Swiss Barefoot Company Free Your Feet (Classic Swiss)
Don’t believe in advertising. I feel painful when I wear sock on the road that full of rock. Terrible product. Terrible. I feel I‘ve been ripp offf Full review
OOFOS Women's OOriginal Sandal
I may never take these sandals off my feet, except maybe to climb in bed! As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I am one of the lucky ones that get to review outdoor gear from time to time. My husband, Hutch, and I each got a pair of the OOFOS OOriginal Sport Sandals and spent the last couple weeks hiking, cycling, and camping in them in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. These are not your average pair of flip flops…they are amazing! We may never take them off. What we love about these shoes: 1. … Full review
AKU Tribute II GTX
I have the suede version, which I couldn't find listed here on Trailspace. It's an ok boot, no major complaints, just not very thrilling. These are the suede GTX Tributes, so I might be posting this wrong. I bought these Tributes to temporarily replace my AKU Zeniths, which I love, and need resoling. I like what AKU is trying to do, and would like to give them a few chances. First, the soft suede feels nice around the ankle, and also gives very little stability. I rolled my ankle several times while… Full review
Not bad. Did 8.5 miles in them over rocks, and I am still walking! Wore them today, first time. An 8 1/2 mile hike along Phoenix trails. Lots of rocks, needless to say. I was a little unsure because of the tread. At first glance, they looked more like forest hikers than rock hikers, but after 8 1/2 miles I would say they're not too bad. Full review
Lowa Camino GTX
My son is currently on a trail in Iceland. He wore these for 3 hours. It rained and he walked in ice slush. The toe box leaked and they are completely soaked. Stranded in Iceland. Really poor quality. Poor quality and not as advertised durably waterproof for inclement wrayher. Did not stand up to avetave rain or walking in snow 3 hours without leaking in the boxes. Completely saturated. Full review
The North Face Men's Thermoball Bootie
I have a pair and they are good for snow and rain. I've enjoy them for shoveling the driveway but they are water resistant not waterproof. So waterproof them when you get them. Full review
Scarpa Men's Origin
This is an excellent introductory climbing shoe. They blend comfort with technical power and durability quite well for a beginner shoe. I climbed in them for 2 years in them, about once a week, and they held up well. They are comfortable, but still allow you to climb moderate difficulty. Excellent edge and moderate curve. The fit was excellent, with the leather upper shoe stretching slightly to match my foot. Full review