Footwear is one of our specialties here at Switchback Travel—we depend on it for just about every outdoor activity that we do. From lightweight hikers to rock climbing shoes and ski boots, we have all of your adventure footwear informational needs covered. Below you’ll find full buying guides detailing our top picks in different product categories along with individual reviews on leading shoe and boot models. Make sure to check back with this page as we continue to update our articles and review new footwear models for summer and winter. 

Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Boots of 2017

Hiking boots are critical to your comfort and performance on the trail, but this no longer means a stiff and burly model that will weigh you down. The trend is toward lighter materials that still offer decent support, and waterproof boots...
Lightweight Hiking Shoes

Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes of 2016

The momentum in hiking footwear is moving away from bulky boots toward lightweight shoes and even trail runners that are faster and more comfortable. You do lose some ankle support when carrying...
Trail-Running Shoes

Best Trail-Running Shoes of 2017

For many, running on varied and challenging trails is a welcome break from the monotony of pounding pavement (or even worse, the belt of a treadmill). Better yet, trail running is...
Backpacking boots

Backpacking Footwear Tips and Advice

Backpacking footwear has come a long way from the burly and heavy all-leather boots of your grandparent’s generation. Now you can choose from everything from waterproof hiking boots dominated by lightweight...
Rock Climbing Shoes 2016

Best Rock Climbing Shoes of 2016

We love rock climbing shoes, and we bet you do too. There are more quality products and styles to choose from than ever before, as climbing shoes get increasingly more specialized...
Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes

Best Indoor Rock Climbing Shoes of 2016

It’s true that you need less equipment for indoor climbing than outdoor climbing, but don’t underestimate a great pair of climbing shoes. Which pair should you buy? There are literally hundreds...
Climbing Shoes for Beginners

Best Rock Climbing Shoes for Beginners

The last thing you want to spend your time doing as a beginning climber is worrying about your shoes, or the poor feet that you’ve crammed into them on somebody’s bad advice...
Ski Boots 2016-2017

Best Downhill Ski Boots of 2016-2017

No matter your ability level, a comfortable boot is an absolute necessity. Nothing ruins a good powder day faster than cold or painful feet, and ill-fitting boots also run the risk of not properly transferring energy...
Beginner ski boot

Best Ski Boots for Beginners of 2016-2017

Sunday, September 20, 2015
If there is one piece of gear that will keep first timers from sticking with the sport, it’s an uncomfortable ski boot. A cheap boot can pinch and freeze toes turning potential fun...
Winter Boots

Best Winter Boots of 2016-2017

Ahh, the winter boot: such a timeless and charming piece of gear. Maybe it’s because they harken back to being a kid, when snow falling always meant the anticipation of stomping around in a crisp, wonderful world for hours at a time with the promise...
Five Ten Guide Tennie

Review: Five Ten Guide Tennie

When I jumped into the world of climbing years ago, one of my first purchases was a pair of approach shoes (the La Sportiva Boulder Evo X). Not only did my new kicks identify me as a climber, they made my clunky leather hiking boots obsolete...
Altra Lone Peak 3.0 trail-running shoes

Review: Altra Lone Peak 3.0

The Lone Peak 3.0 is the latest version of Altra’s most popular trail shoe, released last year as a replacement for the 2.5. The core elements of the design—zero-drop platform, wide toe box, and significant cushioning...
Brooks Caldera shoes

Review: Brooks Caldera

In December of 2016, Brooks released a brand new shoe—the Caldera—filling a much-needed hole in their trail running lineup. The timing was perfect: in January of 2017, I completed training for and ran my first ultramarathon. During testing...
Salomon X Ultra 2 hiking shoe

Review: Salomon X Ultra 2

New for 2016, the X Ultra 2 continues Salomon’s popular line of trail shoes that are lighter and lower cut than hiking boots. We put the X Ultra 2s to the test on steep, technical terrain and came away...
Saucony Peregrine 6 womens

Review: Saucony Peregrine 6

Saucony’s Peregrine has long been a favourite among trail runners, so much so that introducing changes could be seen as a risky move. With their sixth version of the Peregrine...
Salomon Speedcross 4 Trail-Running Shoe

Review: Salomon Speedcross 4

As one of their most popular and recognizable designs, the Speedcross trail-running shoe has been a huge hit for Salomon. The toothy, exposed traction and bright colorways are a common sight at...
La Sportiva Bushido trail-running shoes

Review: La Sportiva Bushido

Over a decade ago I purchased and wore a La Sportiva Wildcat trail runner, and though I loved the tacky tread, the stability was unimpressive. I easily dismissed the brand as simply...
La Sportiva Genius

Review: La Sportiva Genius

La Sportiva calls the Genius, “the highest performance climbing shoe on the market.” Climbing companies love to make superlative claims like that, but when it’s La Sportiva, it definitely gets our attention....
Arctery'x Bora2 Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Review: Arc’teryx Bora2 Mid GTX

Arc’teryx made the jump into footwear for 2015, and to little surprise, mimicked no one in the process. The Bora2 Mid GTX hiking boots combine the protection and grip...
Scarpa Boostic climbing shoe

Review: Scarpa Boostic

Combining Italian craftsmanship with an aggressive, downturned shape, the Scarpa Boostic is a solid performance shoe. Priced at $179, it does fall into the extremely competitive high-end of the market...
Evolv Shaman 2016

Review: Evolv Shaman (2016)

Chris Sharma is one of the greatest sport climbers of all time, if not the greatest. It goes without saying that he could choose any shoe company, and any shoe in their lineup that he wanted, and get paid to wear...
Evolv Addict climbing shoe

Review: Evolv Addict

The Addict is a relatively new climbing slipper from Evolv, and a solid one at that. Built similarly as the time-tested design of Five Ten’s excellent slipper, the Moccasym, Evolv managed to create a shoe that...
Scarpa R-Evolution GTX Hiking Boot

Review: Scarpa R-Evolution GTX

Lightweight backpacking boots are a big ticket item these days, as hikers of all kinds appreciate the benefits of cutting a pound or two off their leaden feet. Scarpa’s entry into this category is the boldly...
Keen Durand hiking boots

Review: Keen Durand Mid WP

With a compelling mix of ankle support, light weight and durability, the Keen Durand Mid WP boots take aim at the popular light hiker category. To see how they compared...
Five Ten Anasazi Pink climbing shoe

Review: Five Ten Anasazi Pink Lace-Up

Ah, the Anasazi Pink. If only I could review arguably my favorite shoe ever every day. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You edge on a dime, fit like a glove, conquer virtually all terrain...
Salomon Quest 4D II GTX Hiking Boots

Review: Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX

Appreciated for its light and nimble feel, the original Salomon Quest 4D GTX quickly became a go-to hiking boot for serious day-hikers and fast moving backpackers. The 2nd generation...
Lowa Innox GTX Mid hiking boots

Review: Lowa Innox GTX Mid

The Lowa Innox GTX is at the forefront of the hiking footwear movement: it’s a lightweight boot that’s comfortable, nimble, and has a Gore-Tex waterproof liner. And despite weighing 2 pounds for the pair, ankle support is plenty sufficient for hauling...
Vasque Inhaler

Review: Vasque Inhaler Low

The Vasque Inhaler Low hiking shoes are in many ways representative of the modern hiking shoe: stiff and supportive enough to tackle rocky trails, yet light and breathable....