Best walking and hiking boots reviewed: Test of the best

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 Lobley |

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 of the great outdoors, whether you're spending the day in a national park or spending 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 hiking boots shortlist:

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.

To help you find the best hiking and walking boots, we’ve tried and tested a whole range. Read on to see our thoughts.

If you’d like to know a little more about how to pick the correct boot size, or about the various features that you can find on hiking boots, head to the bottom of the page for our handy buyer’s guide.

Best 3-season walking boots in detail:

Merrell Moab 2 GTX Mid

Best all-rounder walking boot
Merrell Moab 2 GTX Mid
Amazon

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The Moab 2 hiking boots are a true jack of all trades. The Vibram soles widen at the base to give fantastic stability when coupled with the ankle support of the cuff. The mesh allows for fantastic breathability and because they arenu2019t full leather, the Moab 2 boots are fairly light too. Yet, because they have a Gore-Tex liner inside, they are thoroughly waterproof. Many touches make the Moab 2 boots distinctly Merrell, that is, very well made: the arch support is very good (not relevant if you wear orthotics), and there is a proper, sturdy toe cap. Despite their hardiness, quality full-leather boots will be harder to wear.

Good for: day hikes; multi-day hikes

Not good for: alpine

Specifications
Men’s sizes EU 40 - 48
Women’s sizes EU 35 - 43
Weight (pair) 936g
Upper material Synthetic leather and mesh
Sole Vibram
Fit Standard

Berghaus Hillmaster 2 GTX

Tried and tested classic walking boot
Berghaus Hillmaster 2 GTX
Amazon

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The UKu2019s best-selling boot does not gain that title by being merely adequate. This design from Brasher Hillmaster, now owned by Berghaus has been around for over 25 years, and over that time the Hillmaster 2 GTX has been upgraded and evolved but maintained that classic look. These are leather boots with a thick sole and therefore are quite heavy. But they are supremely comfortable thanks to the memory foam collar and padded footbed; they also make you feel very stable. There is also minimal stitching which aids in longevity and durability. The Hillmaster 2 boots only struggle on rocky ground due to the fat lugs on the Vibram sole, which are more adept at muddy conditions.

Good for: day hikes; multi-day hikes; mud; hills

Not good for: rocky ground

Specifications
Men’s sizes EU 40.5 - 49
Women’s sizes Unavailable
Weight (pair) 1416g
Upper material Leather
Sole Vibram
Fit Slim – standard

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

Best lightweight walking boots
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

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For hitting the trails and gravel tracks, the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX boots from Salomon are the best option. They are amazingly light for hiking boots, but they donu2019t feel flimsy when used in their ideal environment. Because these are fully synthetic, there is no break-in time. Just lace up and go. And nor do you have to worry about wet feet because these too have a Gore-Tex liner. Underneath there is Salomonu2019s own Contragrip sole, designed for trails and loose-surface - when ascending or descending. You will see similar soles on Salomonu2019s trail running shoes too, for the same reason.

Good for: fast hiking; trails

Not good for: multi-day hikes

Specifications
Men’s sizes EU 40.5 - 49
Women’s sizes EU 36 - 44
Weight (pair) 850g
Upper material Synthetic
Sole Contragrip
Fit Slim – standard (wide fit available)

Keen Targhee 3

Best wide fit walking boot
Keen Targhee 3

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Keen brings a comfortable wider fit to the table, along with impressive all-around ability with its Targhee 3 boots. Like the Merrells, these are fairly light but robust. Keen uses its own waterproof liner and it works very well. The soles arenu2019t quite as thick as some of the others here, and the lugs arenu2019t as deep (4mm). Thus, these are perfect for tough day walks and weekend hikes. And if you take care of them, Keen boots last for years.

Good for: day hikes; trails; weekend hikes

Not good for: alpine

Specifications
Men’s sizes EU 39.5 - 49
Women’s sizes EU 35 - 42
Weight (pair) 980g
Upper material Leather and mesh
Sole Keen
Fit Wide

La Sportiva Unisex's Trango TRK Leather GTX

Best walking boots for hills and rocky ground
La Sportiva Trango Trek
Amazon

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Superb ankle flex, combined with a welded upper, make this boot ideal for rockier scrambles.

Good for: rocky and hilly terrain

Not good for: casual walks

Specifications
Men’s sizes EU 39 - 48
Women’s sizes EU 36 - 43
Weight (pair) 1440g
Upper material Leather and synthetic
Sole Vibram
Fit Slim - standard

You want walking boots but you want to feel like they're a trainer?

adidas Terrex Free Hiker Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes

Best walking boot just like trainers
Adidas Terex Free Hiker

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Adidas have made these nice looking boots, great for Spring, Summer and Autumn hiking. They look and feel more like a trainer than a walking boot, taking tech from their running shoes. The Boost midsole springs energy into your step, which you'll be thankful for after a couple of miles in your legs. The GORE-TEX membrane sheds water while letting your feet breathe for all-conditions wear.

Good for: long hikes; casual walks, dog walking

Not good for: muddy / boggy terrain.

Specifications
Men’s sizes EU 41 - 50
Women’s sizes EU 36 - 43
Weight (pair) 1430g
Upper material Leather
Sole Vibram
Fit Standard

Jack Wolfskin Vojo 3 Texapore Mid

Best budget walking boots
Jack Wolfskin Vojo 3 Texapore Mid

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These are Jack Wolfskinu2019s best sellers. They are fairly light, waterproof, breathable and well put together. If you are after a dependable pair of boots for day walks, these are your go-to. The soles have a lot of treads that really pays dividends on wet slopes, for example. The Vojo 3 boots donu2019t possess the rigidity and hardiness for demanding terrain u2013 you'd be better off with the Merrell Moab 2 boots, but for casual walks in the Peak District, Jack Wolfskinu2019s top-sellers fit the bill.

Good for: casual walks; day hikes

Not good for: long hikes; mountains

Specifications
Men’s sizes EU 39.5 - 50
Women’s sizes EU 35.5 - 43
Weight (pair) 1030g
Upper material Leather and synthetic
Sole Jack Wolfskin
Fit Standard

Women's KEEN Ridge Flex Waterproof Hiking Boots

Best women's walking boots
Women's KEEN Ridge Flex Waterproof Hiking Boots

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If we are going to review the best walking and hiking boots, it would be rude not to include this Ridge Flex Waterproof model by KEEN. With FLEX technology embedded, these boots have been made to flex easier. With every step taken, you use 60% less energy. This makes treks far more comfortable. They are also more durable as the boot tends to bend where other boots crack over time. The Ridge Flex is fully waterproof and have built-in terrain traction for better grip on trail surfaces. Super light and stylish, these KEEN boots are a winner. Tried and Tested, Commercial Content Writer Emily Farquhar review: "Not only did I take these boots all the way to the top of Snowdon Mountain in Wales with zero regrets (and a massive smile on my face). I also managed to be the only person to have dry feet by the end of it. Nothing beats a comfortable boot in these temperamental walking conditions." Good for: trails; day hikes; multi-day hikes; mud; hills; all terrains Not good for: casual walks Specifications Menu2019s sizes EU 39.5 u2013 48 Womenu2019s sizes EU 35.5 u2013 40.5 Weight (pair) N/A Upper material Waterproof leather and performance mesh Sole EVA Fit Standard (to narrow)

Hiking boots buyer's guide

Hiking boots on top of a hill after a good walk

Should hiking boots be a size bigger?

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 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.

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William Lobley is a Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming, and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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