Walk with confidence: The best walking and hiking boots in 2024

Let's hit the trails with the best boots for walking and hiking in the UK.

One of the best pairs walking boots being worn in a forest.

by William Austin-Lobley |
Updated on

When you’re hitting the trails, you need to make sure you’re equipped. From head to toe, you need to have all of the walking essentials locked down. The right gear will support, enhance and protect, allowing you to focus on getting the most out of the great outdoors, whether spending the day in a national park or weeks backpacking. The best walking boots provide the foundation – without a good pair, you may as well turn around and go home. They support your ankles, add to your endurance and provide some gnarly grip to help you power over the next fell and onto pastures new.

The best walking boots in 2024 at a glance:

Best overall: Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX - View on Cotswold Outdoor
Best for durability: LOWA Renegade GTX Mid - View on LOWA
Best lightweight: HOKA Anacapa 2 Mid GORE-TEX - View on SportsShoes

Three-season boots are a fantastic and economical way of maximising your hiking boot potential. They’re extremely versatile and offer a wealth of features that make them perfect for UK hiking, seeing you through all but the harshest of winters.

We've tried and tested a whole range to help you find the best hiking and walking boots. Read on to see our thoughts.

If you’d like to know more about picking the correct boot size or about the various features of hiking boots, head to the bottom of the page for our handy buyer’s guide.

The best walking and hiking boots in 2024:

All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall

Cotswold Outdoor / Salomon

Salomon's X Ultra Mid 4 GTX is a hot commodity in the hiking community, and for good reason. This latest edition of a long line of brilliant boots is ideal for hitting the trails and gravel tracks.

Incredibly lightweight, the Ultra Mid 4 GTX weighs a mere 0.84 kilograms – much lighter than most competitor boots and nearly half a pound lighter than its previous iteration.

The Salomon Ultra Mid 4 GTX is equipped with supportive straps that secure the foot for improved support and stability. Its mid-top cut, ADV-C Chassis Midsole, and supple leather and textile upper material easily conform to your feet.

Fully synthetic, they require no break-in time, providing instant out-of-the-box, foot-friendly comfort and robust and reliable support without being rigid.

Moreover, the Contragrip rubber compound offers traction on all surface types, and the Gore-Tex liner ensures reliable breathability and waterproofing, keeping your socks dry even during deep stream crossings.

So, if you're after a boot that is as durable as it is lightweight and offers instant, out-of-the-box, long-lasting comfort, then the Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX is the boot for you.

Pros

  • Exceptionally lightweight – ideal for speed and agility on the trail
  • Instant foot-friendly comfort with supple upper material
  • Impressive support enhanced by AS straps, mid-top cut, and ADV-C Chassis Midsole

Cons

  • Less midsole cushioning due to lightweight design may increase trail impact on rough terrain or extended hikes

Best for durability

LOWA

With over 90 years of expertise, LOWA – a military-grade boot brand – offers an unparalleled balance between durability and comfort. Their Renegade GTX Mid boot is a consistent bestseller, ideal for rugged terrain and longer treks with heavier loads.

While heavier than other boots on this list, its weight, Vibram soles and all-leather upper material make it less prone to wear and tear, promising longevity even on harsher trails.

Its full-length nylon shank and polyurethane Monowrap frame midsole impress when it comes to added support. Its tall ankle cuff and tight lace-up design secure the ankle, reducing injury risk and giving users peace of mind while navigating uneven terrain.

When it comes to performance, the Renegade GTX doesn't disappoint. Its rockered front sole ensures sufficient grip on rock slabs, mud, gravel and scree, making it a reliable choice for less-than-forgiving trails. The Gore-Tex water-resistant liner is a bonus, ensuring your feet stay dry even in wetter conditions.

For comfort, the Renegade GTX boasts a snug, form-fitting design with a felt and foam insole that moulds to the individual shape of your foot, enhancing the overall wearing experience. Wider sizes are also available, ensuring a comfortable fit for everyone. LOWA also offers a women's Renegade GTX boot, which you can find here.

Pros

  • Incredible durability – ideal for rugged terrain
  • Superb stability that offers confidence on uneven terrain and with heavy loads
  • Comfortable form-fitting felt and foam insole design

Cons

  • Not ideal for scrambling

Best lightweight

SportsShoes / HOKA

Known for comfort, HOKA has gone above and beyond with the Anacapa 2 Mid GTX, offering a supremely plush, compression-moulded EVA midsole perfect for longer hikes and hard terrain.

Its swallowtail heel design is great for heel-striker hikers, and its generous fit accommodates and allows for medium feet. However it must be said the toe box is on the narrower side.

The Anacapa 2 Mid GORE-TEX offers some seriously great ankle support for those carrying heavier loads, though it cannot compete with over-ankle boots.

Like many boots on this list, it is also water resistant; its Gore-Tex lining and tall boot height ensure your feet stay puddle-protected.

Pros

  • Plush midsole cushioning for extra comfort on hikes or harder terrain
  • Vibram MegaGrip rubber outsoles allow for top-notch traction
  • Gore-Tex lining offers reliable water resistance

Cons

  • Toe box on the narrower side – may be an issue for wide feet

Best long-lasting

SportsShoes / KEEN

Designed with longevity in mind, KEEN’s Targhee IV is the latest a greatest in their line of walking boots ideal for extended heights, modest loads and rugged terrains. Straight out of the box, the boots offer instant comfort with a less-than-average break-in period.

Its multi-seam upper material, ample ankle cushioning, and improved oiled nubuck leather provide a soft, flexible shoe-like experience. The considered, 100% recycled lacing system allows for a personalised fit and optimal ankle support.

KEEN claims to have solved the issue of delamination with the Targhee IV – a problem often faced with walking boots. It boasts a glue-free moulding process, ensuring its durability and longevity. 

While the KEEN Targhee IV provides a roomy sole, toe box, and signature toe bumper for extra support, we understand that not all feet are the same. So, for those with narrower feet, consider half a size down than your usual size for a more snug fit.

Regarding waterproofing, the boot is built with a reliable yet breathable KEEN DRY membrane, coupled with its moderate flood height, makes for ideal protection when navigating deep puddles and streams. Care products such as Seam Grip and additional oil treatment on the nubuck leather upper are recommended for an even more thoroughly protected boot.

Pros

  • Assured durability with lifetime warranty against delamination
  • Improved support and roomy toe box – ideal for extended hikes
  • Gore-Tex lining offers reliable water resistance

Cons

  • Versatile KEEN DRY boot with excellent traction on hard surfaces

Best for ankle support

Salomon

With exceptional ankle support, this Salomon boot is ideal for navigating rugged walks with heavier loads. Its cuff padding keeps a snug, supportive grip on the ankle, while the ADV-C 4D Chassis midsole support further enhances stability.

Like most boots on this list, the Quest 4 is lined with a breathable Gore-Tex membrane. This feature ensures reliable water resistance and provides peace of mind when ploughing through puddles.

Although the Quest 4 is significantly lighter than its predecessor, it is on the heavier side for a walking boot. However, with its weight comes added durability – excellent for more demanding hikes.

So, for frequent hikers who know they’ll encounter wet weather and carry the extra weight that comes with multi-day hikers, Salomon’s Quest 4 is a fantastic boot that’ll have their backs no matter the conditions.

Pros

  • Incredible ankle support – ideal for hikers carrying heavier loads
  • Comfortable, reliable book with snug padding
  • Little-to-no break-in period

Cons

  • Heavier than most boots on the market

Best waterproofing

Amazon / La Sportiva
Price: $238.95

The second iteration of their Nucleo range, the High II GTX, is an excellent choice for hikers in areas prone to unpredictable English weather. With a 6.75-inch flood height and a reliable Gore-Tex waterproof lining, these boots will keep your feet dry even in deep puddles, streams, and water crossings.

However, even with the all-encompassing GTX membrane, this boot perfectly balances waterproofing and breathability. Its dual mesh-like panelling allows sweat and condensation to escape while maintaining breathability.

When on the descent, the Quest High II’s impact-breaking system, deep tread and sturdy lugs provide excellent grip on various surfaces, helping you navigate the less-than-ideal encounters with scree. However, it’s always good to have walking poles in your arsenal.

The boot’s rigid yet comfortable heel support and slightly narrower base width ensure reliable stability. Its side-by-side support also reduces the risk of ankle rolling. Its Vibram Nano tread and Nubuck leather upper make for an incredibly rugged boot for long-standing durability.

Pros

  • Excellent waterproofing even in especially wet conditions
  • Reliable, deep tread for enhanced stability
  • Lightweight without compromising on durability

Cons

  • Frustrating upper lace system

Best running-inspired

AlpineTrek / Scarpa

For those looking for an impressive balance between a robust boot and a reliable running trainer, Scarpa's Rush Mid 2 with invisible Gore-Tex lining is a brilliant boot that provides the durability of your classic boot and the lightweight speed of a running trainer.

Scarpa's Rush Mid 2's built-in EVA heel, PRESA outsole and midsole cushioning provide excellent shock absorption, making it ideal for those who want a smooth walking experience, even when carrying heavy loads or navigating rough terrain. 

If you encounter thick mud or especially bogging terrain, the SuperGum rubber and waterproof mesh upper ensure easy and – more importantly – dry navigation. Likewise, its handy heel-surrounding brake system is a huge help when descending more notable inclines.

While it doesn't offer nor can compete with the durability of the heavier boots on this list, its incredibly lightweight design minimises fatigue. It allows for quicker navigation of trails – ideal for those wanting to try the increasingly popular soft sport speed hiking.

Pros

  • Waterproof upper for enhanced durability
  • Cushioned EVA midsoles for immediate comfort
  • Excellent shock absorption

Cons

  • Limited ankle support

Best for all-day comfort

SportsShoes / Merrell

Merrell's third iteration of their Moab boot is perfect for premium, all-day comfort. It is made of high-quality pigskin leather, has a mesh upper, and a durable Vibram outsole.

Requiring minimal break-in time, the Moab 3 provides immediate, all-encompassing comfort due to its enhanced cushioning, padded collar, and tongue. It is available in standard and wider sizes to accommodate different foot types. Additionally, its well-designed lacing system allows for a personalised, snug fit.

The Merrell Moab 3 boot is a reliable companion on rugged trails, thanks to its moulded nylon arch that provides substantial support. Its Vibram outsole, known for its excellent traction, further enhances its performance. However, the intricate lugging, designed for improved grip, can be a challenge in wet conditions as it tends to clog with mud, requiring extra cleaning.

Its invisible Gore-Tex lining keeps feet dry in shallow water crossings, and its robust rubber toe cap provides reliable grip and protection when traversing rocks. Likewise, the mesh upper allows ample breathability for hot days and summertime hikes.

So, if you're looking for a boot that prioritises comfort without sacrificing durability, the Merrell Moab 3 is a fantastic choice for casual and day hiking.

Pros

  • Soft cushioning for all-day comfort
  • Breathable design with ventilation suitable for hotter weather
  • Reliable, user-friendly lacing system

Cons

  • Moderate traction is not the best for heavy loads and especially difficult terrain

Best for versatility

La Sportiva

As a brand, La Sportiva is a favourite among our team at What’s the Best, offering a range of high-performance boots you can always count on for casual hiking and harsher, more off-trail trails. The Ultra Raptor II is no exception, combining the agility of trail running with the stability of your high-end hiking boot.

The Ultra Raptor II prioritises comfort with its padded panelling and snug upper, which gently cradles your foot, supports your ankle, and minimises friction. Its swift lacing system and hooked eyelets allow for a personalised fit. However, due to its narrower-than-most toe box, we recommend ordering a half size up from your usual size.

As for support, the boot boasts a 6.75-inch collar and FriXion XF 2.0 rubber sole for improved stability when traversing uneven terrain. This is only solidified by the MEMlex injection-moulded midsole and flexible nylon moulded TPU shank. Its toe bumper also eliminates stubbing when navigating rockier trails.

Gore-Tex lined, the boot is breathable and effectively watertight – the latter made all the more protected with its near-seven-inch flood height. So, the Ultra Raptor II is ideal for every season, effectively combating everything from spring streams, summer heat, heavy rainfall and deep winter snow.

La Sportiva also moffers a women's version, which is available here.

Pros

  • Premium build quality for instant comfort
  • Surprisingly durable for its lightweight design
  • Reliable waterproofing

Cons

  • Toe box narrower than other boots on this list

Best that feel like trainers

adidas

While this may not resemble your typical walking boot – technically, you're right, it's not a full-on boot – it offers more than sufficient over-ankle protection for off-trail use. However, don't let its casual design fool you. This boot is a versatile companion, perfect for casual strolls and light day hikes, adapting to your various outdoor activities.

Featuring a bouncy foam midsole and lightweight laminate upper, this stylishly modern trainer-inspired boot offers a comfortably snug fit and agile performance. Its adaptive lacing system and flexible fit cater to several foot types, ensuring a comfortable experience tailored to you. However, a designated size for wide feet is currently unavailable.

Its PRIMEKNIT, GORE-TEX-lined upper provides reliable waterproofing, performing well at keeping moisture out in small streams and water crossings while maintaining a more than sufficient level of breathability for hot conditions. Likewise, its EVA stabilisation frame and impressive continental rubber outsole allow for sufficient traction when traversing particularly rocky paths.

However, perhaps most impressive is the delightful BOOST midsole, which not only provides exceptional loud-like comfort – you feel as if you're gliding – but it's also a brilliant feature for conserving energy on longer hikes.

Pros

  • Superbly comfortable glove-like fit
  • Cloud-like cushioning and lightweight design
  • Continental rubber provides dependable traction on a range of surfaces

Cons

  • Not suitable for those after a fully supportive hiking boot

How to choose the best walking boots for you

What is an ankle cuff?

To reduce the weight and price of footwear, the ankle cuff may be cut quite low in some boots. But be aware that a lower ankle cuff is more likely to allow water, mud, and debris to enter the boot. It will also provide less ankle support to the foot, which means you'll have to work harder over uneven ground.

What is a hiking boot's upper?

A traditional leather upper, constructed with minimal stitching, will last for many years if well cared for. Conversely, an upper that is made of lots of synthetic fabric, mesh, and thin strips of suede leather, is unlikely to be as durable. This is due to the increased volume of stitching creating more fault lines, points of stress, and wear.

What is midsole flex?

Grab the boot by the toe and heel and bend them together to test longitudinal stiffness, and then twist the sole to test lateral stiffness. A flexible sole flex is better for comfort on level ground, while a stiffer sole flex is more comfortable on the rockier ground and also allows a more precise use of small footholds when scrambling over the rockier ground.

What is a toe box?

Whether you're looking for walking boots for men or walking boots for women, it's essential to protect the foot from stray boulders, a stiffened toe box is important. You can test this by pressing the top of the area where your toes will be in the boot.

What is a hiking boot's rand?

To enhance durability on rockier ground, a rubber rand may be added at the toe. On the most durable designs, this rubber rand extends around the whole of the boot, between the sole and the upper.

What is an outsole?

Well-spaced deep lugs can bite into the soft ground without clogging. A deep heel breast – the step between the heel and midfoot area of the sole unit – is vital for providing braking power in descents.

Hiking boots on top of a hill after a good walk

FAQs

Why choose walking boots instead of walking trainers?

There are lots of myths about whether or not hiking boots should be a bigger size or not, but this all depends on the boot itself, your socks and your feet.

We'd always recommend trying out hiking boots in a shop or in your living room before committing to buying, as many people prefer half a size or a full size larger than their normal shoe size.

As with all shoes, though, each brand will differ, so make sure it's right for you before you commit.

Mountain Warehouse has created an informative video around how to fit hiking boots, which runs down everything you need to know before going on that long walk.

Why choose walking boots instead of walking trainers?

Thanks to the over-ankle design, hiking boots offer your ankles support over rough terrain and reduce joint strain over long distances. Walking trainers aren't made for hill and mountain treks, but they're good for flat, solid surfaces, and will help to keep your feet cooler.

Hiking trainers or walking shoes offer considerably less support than boots. For anything other than town walking, we recommend hiking boots.

What's the difference between walking and hiking boots?

Walking boots are best suited for more accessible terrains such as parks, fields, and gentle inclines. They are lightweight, with some even suited for casual, everyday use. However, they offer less ankle support and rigidity compared to hiking boots.

Hiking boots are designed for more demanding trails and steeper inclines, and they last much longer due to the more robust, premium materials they are made from. With ample above-ankle support and stiffer, more rugged soles, their deeper lugs offer far superior traction and stability, reducing the risk of rolled ankles or injured feet.

When choosing a pair, it's essential to consider the materials used for the outsole and midsole and the level of ankle support they provide. For tougher trails, it's best to choose boots with mid- to high-ankle support and strong lacing systems to keep your feet and ankles snug, secure, stable, and, above all, safe.

Note: while it may seem like a clear division between walking and hiking boots, many boots on the market bridge the gap.

William Lobley is the Editor for What's The Best. Here, he oversees, curates and researches listicles and reviews as many products as his home office can handle.

He has spent nearly five years writing about tech, audio, outdoors and fitness and has reviewed everything from smartphones to ice baths. In addition, he's well-versed in sniffing out the best deals and savings the internet offers.

When not at his desk writing, reviewing or deal-hunting, he'll be relaxing with Japanese crime novels, bingeing some classic anime, strolling the countryside or at the gym listening to the heaviest metal Spotify has to offer.

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