A Guide to the Best Walking Boots and Getting a Perfect Fit

Whether you’re looking for your first or fifth pair of walking boots, this guide is for you. Discover how to get the perfect fit and explore our expert recommendations below.

Walking-boots-(Shutterstock Natalia Deriabina)

In this guide

Walking boot guide

 

Why you need to invest in walking boots

If you think that investing in a good pair of walking boots is overkill for a walking holiday in the UK, read the points below to find out the benefits you’ll get over a pair of regular boots or trainers. A good pair of walking boots will prevent injury, provide maximum comfort and allow you to walk your favourite trails whenever you like.

  • Grip -The grip on a walking boot is far superior to the grip on a standard pair of winter boots, allowing you to walk on wet trails and scale the most challenging terrains.
  • Waterproofing - All walkers know that wet feet are the worst. Walking with wet feet is the perfect recipe for blisters which can lead to a painful hike and even the end to your walking trip until your feet heal properly.
  • Support - On uneven terrain, your ankles will need the support of a proper walking boot.
  • Protection - A solid sole with good tread provides much-needed support and protection from walking on hard ground for extended periods.

Choosing the best hiking boots for you

The market is full of high tech walking and hiking boots. You’ll find everything from the best all-rounder to insulated boots for the coldest of winters advertised. Before buying yourself a pair of walking boots, think about the considerations below.

  • Terrain - Are you walking on well-maintained trails, rugged country paths or summiting mountain peaks? If you’re going to need crampons, you’ll need a stiffer sole, but if you’re a fair-weather walker, a more flexible shoe should be fine.
  • Weight - If you’re a backpacker, the weight of your boots might be of high importance, in which case you’ll want to read up on materials to ensure you get a pair of lightweight, high-performance boots.
  • Budget - How much are you willing to spend? This will give you a good indication of what you’re looking for. We’ve listed below budget-friendly options as well as a few boots worth a splurge.

Hiking boot materials

One of the most important considerations when choosing your walking boots is the material the boots are made of.

Leather used to be the standard walking boot material; however, the introduction of synthetic materials has led to a decline in popularity.

  • Pros: Leather is incredibly durable, water-resistant and comfortable once broken in.
  • Cons: Requires a breaking in period to ensure comfort while walking, is less breathable and can be heavier than synthetic options.

Synthetics such as polyester, nylon and synthetic leather are all common materials used for modern boot construction.

  • Pros: Synthetic boots are usually lightweight, quick-drying, affordable and require much less, if any, breaking in time compared to leather boots.
  • Cons: Probably won’t last as long as a leather pair due to the amount of stitching required on the outside of the boot.

Gore-Tex ® is just one of a few materials often used to waterproof walking boots.

  • Pros: Dry feet are happy feet.
  • Cons: Reduced ventilation may be less suited to warm climates.

Rubber is used to make all walking boot soles. Some boots will incorporate other materials such as carbon or silicone, but all boots will have a rubber base.

Walking boot ratings

Walking boots fit into three categories, B1, B2 and B3 boots.

  • B1 – These are 4 season boots with a semi-stiffened sole and a supportive upper. Perfect for hillwalking.
  • B2 – With a less flexible sole than a B1, this is a more supportive boot and able to support crampons.
  • B3 – A solid mountain boot, fully ridged in construction. Not suited to everyday hill walking.

Walking boot fitting guide

The most important factor when buying a pair of walking boots is to ensure a good fit. Your walking boots should be snug but not tight all over and should allow enough room for you to wriggle your toes. If a pair of boots feels uncomfortable at all when you’re trying them on, they’re not the pair for you.

Here are a few tips on finding the optimum walking boot fit.

  • Your feet swell throughout the day, just like they do when you’re walking, so it’s best to try boots on in the afternoon.
  • When trying on a new pair of boots, you should wear the socks you’ll be wearing while walking in them.
  • Walking socks need replacing just like boots. If yours have lost their padding or are looking a little worn, treat yourself to a new pair to match your new boots.
  • Trim your toenails before trying on new boots.
  • Walking boots should feel snug all over your foot but not tight or restricting.
  • Make sure you have enough room to wiggle your toes.
  • Check that your toes don’t touch the front or top of your boot while walking on a decline.
  • Ensure your heels don’t lift. Movement in the back of your boot is a sign of a poor fit and can lead to friction blisters. Crouch down on your toes and bend forward to check whether your heels lift.
  • You’re looking to lock your heel down into the back of your boot. Lacing your boots differently can transform the way they fit and feel. Experiment with different options until you find the best method.
  • Bear in mind that fit and comfort are the most important factors, not the colour or brand.
  • Insoles are removable, and you can change the insoles in your boot to suit the shape of your foot better if needed.
  • Speak to experts. Go to a reputable outdoors shop to try walking boots on. There you’ll be able to ask experts for advice on fit and comfort.
  • Female and male boots do differ in shape. A man with a small, slender foot may fit into a woman’s shoe better than the men’s version, and similarly for women, a man’s shoe with a wider toe box may be more suitable.

View our Club President, Julia Bradbury, seeking out her perfect walking boot here

Best walking boots for men


1. Berghaus Men’s Expanse Mid GORE-TEX® Walking Boots

Excellent shock absorption and durable waterproof protection.

berghaus-mens-expanse

Specifications Upper material: Synthetic Sole: Vibram® outsole

Reasons to buy

  • Lightweight
  • Great grip
  • Fully waterproof
  • Comfortable

RRP: £135 here

Berghaus’s dark grey, fully waterproof offering is impressive in both it’s style and substance. The synthetic nubuck upper, lined with breathable GORE-TEX® makes these boots great for summer use and wet weather. These boots are great for exploring wet terrain while offering comfort with a padded heel cuff and Ortholite footbed. Breathable and antimicrobial, the footbed will conform to the shape of your foot, offering personalised support. Don’t be fooled by the stylish, lightweight uppers, the Vibram® Opti-Stud sole on these boots gives good shock absorption and plenty of grip on different terrains.

2. Brasher Men’s Country Walker Walking Boots

A durable all-rounder in a classic design.

Brasher-mens-country-walking boot

Specifications Upper material: Leather Sole: Vibram® outsole

Reasons to buy:

  • Long-lasting
  • Retro feel
  • Leather uppers

RRP: £125 here

With a nod to the classic walking boot design of the past, these brown Brasher boots offer great performance and longevity. The leather upper may mean you’ll need to break these boots in, but the comfortable PU footbed should cushion each step for extended comfort on long hikes. The leather uppers will keep any water out and allow for continuous airflow to prevent moisture build-up inside. Reliable Vibram® outsoles boast unrivalled traction and grip across a range of terrains, making these boots a great all-rounder. These boots will serve you well on dog walks, longer hikes and extended walking trips. The suede outer cuff offers added style and durability, making these boots a great addition to your walking gear collection.

3. Hi-Tec Men’s Eurotrek Lite Walking Boots

A stylish leather boot, at a great price point.

Mens-eurotrek-hi-tech

Specifications Upper material: Leather Sole: MDT rubber outsole

Reasons to buy:

  • Value for money
  • Comfortable
  • High performance

RRP: £80.00 here

If you’re after a budget walking boot, ideal for beginners or light usage, these are a great option. With leather uppers, you’ll want to break these in to ensure comfort before a long walk. At such a low price point, these boots are great at keeping water out with a Dri-Tec membrane. The moulded EVA midsole and footbed offer comfort and support, and the rubber outsole provides enough grip for a moderate walk. These are a pair of boots to consider if you’re looking for good performance at a low price point.

4. Meindl Bhutan MFS Walking Boot

A sturdy, stylish boot for demanding walks.

Bhutan-Mens

Specifications Upper material: Nubuck Leather Sole: Vibram® outsole

Reasons to buy:

  • Long-lasting construction
  • Classic design
  • Good for demanding hikes

RRP: £219.99 here

These Meindi’s will keep your feet dry, supported and comfortable on more difficult walks over rough terrain. With the leather upper, you may need to break these in, but once you do, you’ll have a comfortable and sturdy pair of boots for your hikes and adventures. The memory foam in the tongue, ankle and collar adds to the luxurious comfort while the Vibram® outsole provides support and grip when you need it the most.

Best walking boots for women


5. Meindl Bhutan Lady MFS Walking Boot

A boot that’s built to last, while looking like it means business too.

Meindl-Bhutan-Ladies

Specifications Upper material: Nubuck leather Sole: Vibram® outsole

Reasons to buy:

  • Built to last
  • Superb comfort
  • Mountain ready

RRP: £219.99 here

Let’s talk about comfort. The MFS memory foam system installed in these boots offers personalised comfort. In the ankle, collar and tongue, these boots will take on the shape of your foot and offer soft, continuous cushioning. The flexible, pressure-free fixing tat gives adjustable lacing, allowing you to maximise the support and fit. The nubuck leather upper is GORE-TEX® lined, for durability and protection from the elements. Built to last, the protective rubber rand adds to the style and durability of the boots. This pair of boots are a great option for anything up to low-level mountain areas.

6. Berghaus Women’s Expanse Mid GORE-TEX® Walking Boots

These blue beauties are a great all-rounder at a reasonable price point.

berghaus-ladies

Specifications Upper material: Synthetic Sole: Vibram® outsole

Reasons to buy:

  • Good all-rounder
  • Waterproof upper
  • Lightweight

RRP: £135 here

Scale variable terrain in wet weather with these comfortable, waterproof boots. With a GORE-TEX® membrane providing a breathable barrier against wet weather and a Vibram® outsole offering great shock absorption, these boots offer good protection from the trail. The Ortholite footbed and padded heel cuff will provide much-needed comfort and support. All of that, combined with a stylish, mesh construction, these boots really do look the part and perform well.

7. Brasher Women’s Country Walker Walking Boots

Look the part and benefit from long-lasting constriction from Brasher.

brasher-ladies

Specifications Upper material: Leather Sole: Vibram® outsole

Reasons to buy:

  • Classic brown leather design
  • Sturdy construction
  • Comfort

RRP: £125 here

The light brown leather, classic design and sturdy construction of these boots are ideal for the regular walker, wanting to incorporate a little fashion into their walks. Great for casual walking and longer hikes, these boots from Brasher combine a sturdy, grippy outsole with a breathable but waterproof leather upper. Cushioning each step, the soft PU footbed should make for a comfortable walk while the EVA midsole will provide a good amount of support.

8. Hi-Tec Women’s Eurotrek Lite Walking Boots

A great leather boot at an affordable price point.

hi-tech-womans

Specifications Upper material: Leather Sole: MDT outsole

Reasons to buy:

  • Affordable leather boot
  • Grippy MDT outsole
  • Waterproof and breathable

RRP: £80 here

With durable hardware, a stylish leather upper and a grippy MDT outsole, these boots are a good all-rounder. The EVA midsole and moulded footbed offer comfort and support, making them great for a long day of walking on a range of terrains.

Exclusive discounts

As a member of the Club, you have access to exclusive discounts at some of the best outdoor retailers in the UK. View your discounts below or find out about the benefits of joining the club.

To summarise:

  • The most important factor in choosing a pair of walking boots is that they fit properly.
  • You get what you pay for, and longer-lasting boots do come in at a higher price point.
  • If you’re in doubt about which boots to buy, speak to an expert in an outdoors shop.