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 0.5 of 5 stars
Hi-Tec Men's Sierra V-Lite

Very poorly made. Soles will fall off after very little use. Horrible boots. On my third use, the sole of one of the shoes suddenly separated from the upper. I did not get it caught and was not on particularly rough terrain. Boots had less than 12 miles use at this point. Fortunately, the shoe was still sturdy enough to walk the three miles back to my car, at which point I discovered that the other sole was about to fall off. Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
Merrell Men's MQM Flex

The Merrell MQM Flex is a pleasant surprise and a good value. Not quite a trail runner, the MQM Flex is a moderately priced, non-waterproof light hiking shoe that has proven itself over the miles. I have backpacked in these shoes for about 150 miles in the Ozark Mountains before posting this review. This includes two 50-mile trips and a few shorter excursions. I feel a hiker should be able to count on a solid 500 miles in a pair of lightweight shoes, and the 150-mark is a good test of performance… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid

Great boots, my Scarpa mustangs died after ten years with detached soles at the rear, these taking their place, to travel to Canada (Montreal and Quebec) into the snow. Straight out of the box fit, no need to break them in, comfortable straight off the get-go, no cold toes etc Traveling to the US and Canada from Australia, my Scarpa Mustangs from 2010 or thereabouts were packed to go, having been used for other trips in the past. Traveling to Gettysburg, PA, to walk the battlefield I was to find… Full review

rated 1 of 5 stars
Asolo Men's FSN 85

The worst shoes I have ever bought. The sole started crumbling after the first time I wore them. I bought them brand new. Wore the boots once. After wearing them outside in the snow for just over an hour the soles of the boots started to crack, separate, and crumble.  Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
New Balance BM1000BK

Waterproof, insulated, and supportive. These boots were surprisingly comfortable right out of the box. The treated suede and nylon mesh uppers are light and supportive, and a little higher on the ankle, and they work! With 200 grams of insulation and a proprietary waterproof membrane your feet stay warm and dry. The cushion midsoles with memory foam insoles are perfectly paired—like walking on a cloud. The grippy outer sole makes this a very usable yet comfortable cold weather boot, even on ice… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Vivo Barefoot Men's Tracker FG

A lightweight, comfortable alternative to traditional hiking boots. I bought the VivoBareFoot Tracker FG after discovering my winter hikers were an uncomfortable fit after a year of a predominantly barefoot lifestyle. I’ve only had these for about a month but I was won over the very first day. My feet are protected from cold, snow, ice, and slush in a very comfortable manner. Right out of the box they felt "broken in" and flexible. Trail feel is better than I’d expected, traction is adequate… Full review

rated 0.5 of 5 stars
The North Face Men's Chilkat

North Face boots simply failed miserably! The failure is totally unacceptable. DO NOT BUY NORTH FACE PRODUCTS! They cannot be trusted. I can add to the simply horrible product that has the usually trusted name "North Face" on their boots. Mine failed catastrophically as others with cracks throughout the "rubber". At first I loved these boots as many others have stated. But the failure is totally unacceptable. DO NOT BUY NORTH FACE PRODUCTS! They cannot be trusted. Full review