I've also broken things up in two different categories to help you find the best backpacking shoes for you.
Best Backpacking Shoes - Summer
- Montrail Mountain Masochist - Montrail is well known by lightweight backpacking enthusiasts for their backpacking shoes, and the Mountain Masochists are some of their best reviewed backpacking shoes. The tops are breathable to help keep sweat from building up and just the right amount of cushion keeps your feet going all day long.
- Inov-8 X-Talon 212 - The X-Talon 212s weigh in at a scant 212 grams, making them an excellent choice for anyone who considers weight to be an important part of what best backpacking shoes means. The lugged bottoms mean they don't do well on roads but excel on the trail, and Inov-8s innovative designs means your feet will be sensitive to what's beneath you without being fatigued.
- Vibram Five Fingers Sprint (Women's) - Some people love them and some hate them, but the Vibram Five Fingers are definitely an option for those looking to have a good feel for what's beneath their feet while keeping the weight down. Vibram Five Fingers are also versatile around water and a good choice for beach hiking or where there are constant rivers to cross. The Sprint is one of their classic designs and the open top makes it an ideal choice for summer backpacking. If minimalism and versatility are a part of best backpacking shoes for you then consider the Sprints.
Best Backpacking Shoes - Winter
- Montrail AT Plus GTX - There's no reason you cant take a pair of backpacking shoes out for a little four season backpacking. They would likely be out of place on a snowy mountain top, but the Goretex lining will help keep your feet dry in most wet conditions and the excellent Montrail design will keep your feet comfortable. If you're worried about the weather throw a pair of waterproof gaiters in to your bag for good measure.
- Inov-8 Roclite 400 GTX - The look and protection of a backpacking boot with the weight and features of a backpacking shoe. These Roclites from Inov-8 are leather with a Goretex liner and the full ankle protection of a backpacking boot, but include many of the innovative features that make Inov-8 backpacking shoes such a common choice for lightweight backpacking enthusiasts. Definitely consider the Roclite 400s when looking for the best backpacking shoes.