Good walking boots don’t come cheap. However, not much can ruin a walk as quickly as a blister, so it’s worth spending the time and money to find a pair that suits.
There are a lot of boots on the market and the choice can seem overwhelming. Here are a few things to think about before you make that purchase.
Terrain Consider the type of walking you’ll be doing and pick a style of boot to match. Are you tackling mountains or the local towpath? Both are great places to walk, but they won’t require the same boot.
Leather vs synthetic A synthetic boot is likely to be lighter than a leather one. However, if looked after properly a good-quality leather boot can last a lifetime. All modern walking boots should be comfortable straight out of the box, and while a leather boot can take a bit more time to really mould to your foot, no boot should require a long period of “breaking in”. Neither type offers wet-weather advantages, either – all boots are waterproof if they have a Gore-Tex or similar membrane.
High vs mid cut A high boot will provide more ankle support, which can be an advantage over uneven terrain or when carrying a heavy pack. A mid boot is likely to be lighter and, if you’re used to wearing a walking shoe or trainer, may feel more familiar and comfortable.
Sole Look at the pattern and amount of lugs on the sole. A more aggressive tread will be better in mud, while some footwear has sticky rubber for better traction on rock. A stiff sole with a supportive midsection will not flex much which can be beneficial on steep terrain or with a heavy pack. A softer sole can feel more comfortable, like wearing a trainer, and is great for less challenging terrain, or if fast and light is your thing.
Fit This is absolutely the most important thing when it comes to buying boots. Visit a reputable outdoor retailer if you can, preferably one that offers a boot fitting service. Try on as many pairs as possible. You’re looking for a boot that feels supportive all over, but isn’t tight – there shouldn’t be any pinching or rubbing. A good shop should have a ramp for you to walk on. If not, walk around the shop as much as possible and try the stairs if that’s an option. When walking uphill there should be no slipping in the heel – that’s likely to give you a blister. When walking downhill you shouldn’t be sliding forward in the boot, and your toes definitely shouldn’t be striking the front of the boot or you’ll be in danger of losing a toenail. Your toes should have a bit of wiggle room. If you do have to buy online, have a good read of each manufacturer’s fit guide and read reviews by people who’ve bought the boots to get an idea of sizing and fit.
The Best Walking Boots For Women
Keen Targhee III Mid Walking Boot
This is a lightweight boot made with full-grain leather (meaning the complete hide is used without sanding or buffing). The sole is fairly soft so it’s comfortable to wear, but it’s rugged enough to offer reliable grip – a good balance that means the boot’s suited to hiking on paths and tracks. The KEEN.DRY waterproof and breathable membrane combined with the full-grain leather uppers should keep your feet dry and well ventilated. Keen boots have a reputation for comfort, and the roomy, square toe box is good for anyone with a wider foot. At around £100 these are a good option for the budget-conscious.
Buy from Keen | £124.99 (currently reduced to £99.99)
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
A great all-round boot for paths and trails, the Renegade has a premium nubuck leather upper that should make it comfortable from first wear, although the supple nature of the nubuck means the boot will mould to your individual foot shape for a fit that improves with time. The leather is backed up by a Gore-Tex membrane to keep your feet dry. The rubber non-slip outsole is made by Vibram and offers a balance between grip and durability. The Renegade gives great ankle support and is easy to pull on thanks to the lace configuration. The metal lace hooks include an extra hook set further back, allowing you to fine tune the fit around the heel. The Renegade comes in standard, wide and narrow fits, and covers an impressive 3.5-10 size range. It all adds up to a great boot, especially if you’ve been struggling to find something that fits.
Buy from Lowa | £190
Scarpa R-Evo Gtx
A great three-season all-rounder, this boot is designed for comfort on more technical hikes or multi-day walking trips. A key feature of this boot is the soft-shell sock-fit tongue, which is extremely comfortable and offers good support. An upper lined with suede and Gore-Tex keeps things waterproof and looks stylish. The Vibram Biometric Sole offers lots of grip when tackling challenging terrain.
Buy from Scarpa | £140
You can trust Coach We give honest reviews and recommendations based on in-depth knowledge and real-world experience. Find out more about how we review and recommend products.
- How To Clean Walking Boots
- The Best Hiking Backpacks To Carry Your Gear In Comfort
- Camping Essentials Checklist With Adventurer Andy Torbet
Meindl Bhutan Lady MFS
This trekking boot will see you through hikes in the UK and beyond, and if well looked after it will last a decade or more. A waxed nubuck upper with a breathable Gore-Tex membrane keeps feet both dry and ventilated. The Vibram sole takes wet and challenging terrain in its stride, and a protective rubber rand (which sits over the upper just above the sole) provides extra durability. A key feature of this boot is the Memory Foam System that’s unique to Meindl boots – the specially developed mix of foam in the ankle area is warmed by your body temperature, moulding perfectly to the shape of your ankle for an exceptionally comfortable fit. It’s worth mentioning this boot can be resoled, prolonging its lifespan even further.
Buy from Cotswold Outdoor | £233
Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GORE-TEX
This is the smart choice for those wanting to move fast and light, and Inov-8’s heritage in fell running permeates the design of this boot. The sole features revolutionary (really) graphene-enhanced rubber that delivers seriously good grip on all terrains. The Schoeller fabric used on the upper has an anti-abrasion ceramic coating and, of course, there’s a waterproof Gore-Tex lining.
Buy from Inov-8 | £200
Get the Coach Newsletter
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, reviews of the latest gear and more.