Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
Gear Guide Spring 2017: Footwear
On Cloudventure Waterproof Review: The trail runners among us have long loved the Cloudventure for its unmatched springiness. This year, that design gets a waterproof upgrade. Click here to read the full review.
The North Face Ultra Gore-Tex Surround Mid Review: A quick glimpse at our tester notes for this boot says a lot. We wore it on dayhikes and weeklong missions with 35-pound packs. Click here to read the full review.
SCARPA Epic Lite Review: Conventional approach shoes are great for scrambling, but, despite the name, aren’t always comfortable pounding trail miles on long approaches. Enter the Epic Lite, which is almost as comfortable as a trail runner while delivering the traction and durability of an approach shoe. Click here to read the full review.
Lowa Irox GTX (w’s Lyxa GTX) Review: Sometimes, you want a light boot for trail feel. Other times, you want an armored car for your feet to bash through whatever comes. File the Irox in the latter category. Click here to read the full review.
Brooks Caldera Review: Maximalist shoes promise uncommon cushion, but some runners avoid the big-soled models because they can have a reputation for being squirmy. Not the Caldera. Click here to read the full review.
AKU Alterra GTX Review: One of our crew got lost in Glacier National Park and did an accidental 21-miler in a brand-new pair. The results were astounding: not even a hot spot. Click here to read the full review.
Dynafit Feline Vertical Review: When it came time for long, long runs with steep, steep climbs, we laced up the Feline Vertical—a minimalist, lightweight trail runner. Click here to read the full review.
Not all hiking boots are created equal. So make the most of your trail time by picking the right shoes for the job: fleet trail runners for training sessions, light hikers for dayhikes, and supportive boots for multi-day trips with big packs. You’ll find all those, and more, on our list of the best hiking boots and shoes of 2017.
Miles hiked: 4,731
Longest day: 18 hours (Phillistine-Rolleston Traverse, New Zealand)
Biggest elevation change: 6,000 ft. (Section of Mountains-to-Sea Trail, NC)
Coldest temp: -15°F (Indian Peaks, CO)
Highest Trip: 14,270 ft. (Grays Peak, CO)
How to Buy Hiking Boots
Shop late: Try on boots at the end of the day when your feet are swollen—like they’ll be after a day of hiking.
Try different brands: Manufacturers use different shaped lasts for various reasons. Your feet will feel better in some than others; pay attention to how the contours of the footbed work with the contours of your feet.
Find a slope: Dial in fit, then see how it changes when you stand on an incline. (Good stores have a sloped board for this purpose.) If your toes slide forward when you’re facing downhill, then chances are you’ll be losing some toenails.
Use your insoles: If you use aftermarket orthotics, bring ’em.
Spend time: Walk up and down the aisles, no shame.
Lighten up: In general, get the lightest shoes that are appropriate for the terrain and load. Excess weight on your feet leads to fatigue and soreness.