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Gear Reviews

The 10 Best Hiking Boots and Shoes of 2021

Treat your feet with these trail runners, mid-cuts, and a favorite camp shoe.

These products are featured in BACKPACKER’s 2021 Gear Guide. For the full product reviews—and a ton more perks—become an Active Pass member today. We take our responsibility to provide readers with fair and accurate gear advice seriously, and when you make purchases based on these reviews, we may earn a commission.

Hiking Boots and Hiking Shoes

Need a little more support, or planning to tackle tough terrain? These pairs have sturdier soles for heavy use—but that doesn’t mean they’ll weigh you down.

Best All-Around: Mammut Sapuen High GTX

For big miles and heavy packs, a boot with a little extra structure is a godsend, but you wouldn’t want to wear it for dayhikes if it’s too stiff. We’ll happily take the Sapuen anywhere, though. This boot is supportive yet light, thanks to a corrugated sheet of shape-retaining steel that acts as a combination shank and rock plate. Buy Now / Read the Full Review


Best Cushion: HOKA ONE ONE TenNine Hike GTX

It’s a boat! (No, a water ski!) It’s a spaceship! (The Millennium Falcon!) Whatever it is, the TenNine Hike is relief for your achy knees and feet. This futuristic-looking boot is equipped with 33 towering millimeters of foam composite in the midsole (the boot has a 4-millimeter drop), as well as a gigantic heel that sticks out nearly 2 inches behind the foot. The cushioning and massive landing pad soften heel strikes on every step. Buy Now / Read the Full Review

Danner Trail 2650 Campo

Most Breathable: Danner Trail 2650 Campo

Hot, dry conditions call for a special type of hiking shoe. Designed with the southern section of the Pacific Crest Trail in mind, the Trail 2650 Campo kept our feet from overheating on hikes in the Tetons and climbing approaches in Idaho’s arid City of Rocks, largely thanks to a lightweight perforated upper. We suffered no blisters even when temps climbed as high as 90°F, and the Campo dried quickly after stream crossings thanks to water-draining ports in the midsole (no waterproof membrane on this shoe). Buy Now / Read the Full Review

Northside Stimson Ridge Mid WP

Best Value: Northside Stimson Ridge Mid WP

If a pair of sub-$100 boots can take a season of beating in the Alaskan wilderness without falling apart, it passes muster. We hiked around 130 miles in the Stimson Ridge, and found its nubuck-and-mesh construction surprisingly tough—the seams never loosened and the mesh never failed—even after dense bushwhacking around Bird Creek. Buy Now / Read the Full Review

Oboz Sypes Low
Photo: Courtesy

Most Versatile: Oboz Sypes Low Leather B-DRY

If we were only allowed to own one pair of hiking shoes, the Sypes Low would be our pick. We took it on both long trips and dayhikes, through the airport and up peaks, and it never let us down. This shoe’s low profile and roomy fit make it comfortable for daily activities (plus, it doesn’t look too “hiker-y” for off-trail use). Buy Now / Read the Full Review

Asolo Corax GV

Best Support: Asolo Corax GV

You’d be forgiven for mistaking the Corax for a mountaineering boot, at least until you put it on. Combining the support and ruggedness of an alpine boot with the lightweight comfort of a backpacking shoe, the Corax was our go-to for big trips under a heavy pack. On a four-day trek through Montana’s remote Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, we never worried about our 50-pound load on off-camber trails or scrambling up trailless, rocky slopes to Lake of the Clouds. Buy Now / Read the Full Review


Best Fit: AKU Rock DFS Mid GTX

Double the laces, double the security: That’s the equation the Rock DFS Mid is designed around. It has standard lacing like most boots do, but also adds a second, smaller quick-lace atop the main one so wearers can easily snug up on terrain that requires precision. The second set of laces also transfer tension into straps along the sides of the shoes, which hugged our feet from all sides. Buy Now / Read the Full Review

Trail Runners

These stripped-down shoes will help you move fast and stay comfortable.

Arc'teryx Norvan SL 2

Lightest: Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2

We’ve found minimalist bliss: Wearing the 12-ounce Norvan SL 2 is almost like going barefoot, if your foot had a sticky, tough outsole. With a mesh upper that one tester says felt like he was wearing sandals, an integrated mesh insole, and a 12-millimeter stack height (with a 7-millimeter drop), this shoe is as pared down as anything else we tested this year. Buy Now / Read the Full Review

Black Diamond Fuel

Best for Scrambling: Black Diamond Fuel

For hikes that head into rocky, slabby terrain, think of the Fuel as an underfoot security system. “I was comfortable wearing this shoe on scrambles that bordered on actual rock climbs,” one Northeast guide says, crediting Black Diamond’s sticky, proprietary rubber outsole with impressively bridging the gap between rock traction and trail grip. Buy Now / Read the Full Review

Plus: Best Camp Shoes

Stay comfy around the fire with this new pick.

Vasque Satoru Moc

Vasque Satoru Moc

Light and compressible enough to disappear in your pack and airy enough for you to forget you’re wearing it, the Satoru Moc is our new favorite camp accessory. Its pillowy foam midsole and proprietary rubber outsole kept us protected while we navigated rocks and roots around camp in Washington’s Alpine Lakes Wilderness, even as we did a little light scrambling on the cliffs behind our tentsite. Buy Now / Read the Full Review