womens lightweight waterproof hiking boots

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Womens Lightweight Waterproof Hiking Boots

best walking boots for women

The best walking boots for women
Walking boots either come in leather or synthetic material

Covid has rekindled our love for walking as exercise – good for mind and mood, as well as for our bodies. Hiking is on the incline, and the perfect pair of walking boots are an investment worth making this winter as we prepare to wrap up and spend the colder months socialising outside in the fresh air, rather than indoors. 

If you’ve recently found yourself dreaming of a ramble or yearning for the great outdoors, you’ll be in need of a decent pair of hiking boots to power up your adventures.

Choosing that pair can be tricky, especially because you’re looking at footwear that you want to last a good while. Generally speaking, a good pair of boots should keep you going for a minimum of three years; but a really great pair could last you seven, or possibly more.

So, which boots are the best for you? The key things to consider are weight, material and waterproof qualities. If you’re off for a mountainous hike in a wet climate, go hell for naturally water-repellent leather. Weekend walk on a neat, dry trail or a gentle wander around the grounds of a National Trust property? Opt for breathable, low-cut synthetic boots with an athletic, bouncy feel. City stroll? You might want to put a more fashionable foot forward. (Scroll down for a full guide on the benefits of leather versus fabric.)

Essentially, it’s a balancing act: think lightweight for day hikes, mid-weight for backpacking, and heavyweight for the stability you need for rough terrain and heavy loads. Of course, you quite possibly want one pair that can do all three – which is why I tested and reviewed a range of walking boots currently on the market, to find the best walking boots for women.

Here’s what I learned…

1. Scarpa Terra GTX

Why we like them: These perform well in the best and worst of British conditions, without compromising on weight or grip

£145, millets.co.uk

Scarpa Terra GTX walking boots

The Scarpa Terra GTX’s are my favourite all-rounder boots for the conditions here in Blighty, thanks to their soft leather uppers and a trustworthy, waterproof Gore-Tex (GTX) inner membrane. 

Scarpa is an outdoor footwear brand with roots in Italy and North America – but the Scarpa Terra GTX’s are designed specifically with fell walking across UK paths and hills in mind. They’re lightweight enough to chuck on for a casual stroll or picnic, but sturdy enough should you find yourself off the beaten track in wet, muddy conditions, or on a steep slope with a hefty bag in tow (perhaps on the cuesta of the Cotswold Hills, which have a a steep, west-facing scarp slope, and a plateau-like dip slope).

The best hiking boots
We tried and tested numerous pairs of hiking boots in order to select the very best 

These boots have a thick but buoyant Vibram Energy sole (keep a note of that. Vibram is a market leader in functional soles, so if a pair of hiking boots flaunt their Vibram at you, you know they’re good quality). I found them to be comfortable straight away – agreeably plush, in fact – and they’re so nicely weighted that they make you want to skip and scarper your way through fields, rather than plod heavily. 

For a decent price, you get a boot that can cope with fell walking in Yorkshire and power walking in cities. An unrivalled package.

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2. Meindl Bhutan Lady MFS

£230, Cotswold Outdoor

Why we like them? These heavy-duty boots are designed to go the distance over rough terrain

Meindl walking boots

The Meindl Bhutan boot is a serious trudger, suited to low level mountains (and even major mountain ranges). It’s heavy – but don’t let that put you off. The weight of the Bhutan will help you to keep your centre of gravity should you have a wobble, as will those high ankle sides (excellent if you’ve overstuffed your backpack, and are struggling to maintain your balance).  

“Good hiking boots are a kit essential. Cheaper ones wear down quicker,” recommends health coach Bella Somerset, who runs small group treks in the Himalayas. “My Meindl boots have taken me hundreds of miles in the Himalayas and are still going strong – but you must wear them in, otherwise you can get nasty blisters.”

The Meindl is the boot to go for if you’re ready to tackle long distances over rough terrain. They look hardcore (because they are), but they’re rather luxurious in terms of comfort: the soft nubuck leather of the uppers is softly cushioning, they boast memory foam ankle support, and they lace up securely with strong fixings. And as they also happen to look rather stylish, there’s no harm putting them on for a gentler canal-side walk or a stomp through field and forest. 

They’ve got a Vibram Multigrip sole, too, to prevent slippage and keep you steady – even when everything else is counting against you remaining upright.

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3. Le Chameau-Lite LCX 7” low boot

£249, lechameau.com

Le Chameau
French brand Le Chameau’s walking boots are lightweight and breathable CREDIT: LE CHAMEAU

You’ll be the envy of your fellow walkers in these beauties. French brand Le Chameau has been stomping its way across all terrains since 1965; their boots are famously built to last (which is probably why the Duchess of Cambridge is regularly pictured walking around in her Le Chameau wellies). The country lifestyle brand also has a good line in walking boots, ideal for exploring nature: their ultra-lightweight, guaranteed waterproof Lite boots weigh just 625g and are made with environmentally friendly full grain leather, boast a ‘Deep Forest’ sole developed in partnership with tyre experts Michelin, and a memory foam sole – which means it only takes a few steps to wear them in.

Due to the tighter fit of the Chameau-Lite range, I’d recommend ordering a size larger than you would usually wear (I’m a size 6, but a size 7 in these).  If you’re interested in how they manage to be so lightweight and breathable but also waterproof at the same time, they have a five-layer construction, preventing water from permeating the boot whilst simultaneously allowing vapour to escape easily.

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4. Grenson Nanette Hiking boot G:Two

£295, Asos

Why we like them? A deceptively durable boot; rugged enough for all-day walking in comfort, feminine enough to look good

Grenson Nanette

Not all hikers are cut out for Scafell Pike. That said, despite its urban good looks, Grenson’s Nanette can handle a lot more than the average pavement walker can throw at it. Made of calf’s leather, the boots (favoured by Holly Willoughby on I’m a Celebrity) look rigid at first sight but are actually pretty much broken in from the off. I spent a day tramping around wet grassy terrain, and at the end my feet were in one piece and my ankles still felt supported (as someone who pronates merely walking to the newsagents, let alone hiking, support is high on my list of priorities).

What sets these boots above their fashion-oriented counterparts, though, is the sole – thick Goodyear Welted commando tread. Surprisingly, I find the boots incredibly light and don’t feel as though I’m lugging any extra weight around; something you’d never guess from just looking at them.

As a permanent sufferer of the cold, the shearling tongue, new for winter 2018, was a cosy touch. In fact, the Nanette is often marketed as a ski boot and US and Canadian fans rave about their weather-suitability in snowy conditions. But make no mistake, this is a thoroughly British boot – Grenson was founded in Northamptonshire, 150 years ago. 

Just one piece of advice from Grenson: don’t dry them by the radiator and these cold-weather walking powerhouses should last and last. Let’s hope so. I’m taking them walking on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way soon; practical AND they’ll look good with an Aran jumper.

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5. Vivo barefoot tracker hiking boots

£190 – £232.38, Amazon

Vivo Barefoot
These barefoot-effect boots promise a more “sensory” walking experience CREDIT: VIVO

I love these boots because they’re designed to feel as if you’re walking barefoot (despite being protected by soft heel-to-toe leather). My feet feel free but also ensconced; the flexible sole (it’s very bendy) is far thinner than that of so many other walking boots on the market, and it allows me to balance on my toes or on my heels, should I wish to.

I suspect that they’re excellent for alignment and posture, and with plenty of wiggle room for your toes, they promise “natural sensory feedback” from the ground, so if mindful hiking or forest bathing is your bag, they’ll definitely make you feel more rooted and grounded.

Yet the sole is still fairly firm, so they can still hold their own on wilder, rough terrains as well as easy scampers. 

However, they do take some getting used to, and barefoot footwear tends to be Marmite: people love it or hate it. You have been warned.

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6. Sorel Ainsley Conquest Boot

£92.21 – £310.23, Amazon

Sorel walking boot

Everyone said I was mad to take a box fresh pair of boots on a walking holiday. But I had a good feeling about this Sorel pair – built for serious wet weather and made from full-grain leather and waterproof suede.

I’m happy to report that they are a 10/10 for comfort. Rare is it that you can don a pair of walking boots, especially ones with leather round the ankle and wear them non-stop for a week, without a moment’s trouble. Plus, having got caught in a heavy hail storm, I can confirm that they are totally weather proof.

The rubberised sole has good grip and they look great, too. The only thing to be mindful of is the sizing – they come up a little small, so you’re probably best to go a half or whole size up, especially if you want to wear cosy walking socks.

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7. Blundstone 584 rustic water-resistant Chelsea boot

£148.99 – £185.61, Amazon

Blundstone boots

Meet the best boots from Down Under. Blundstone was founded in the 19th century by settlers who emigrated from England to Tasmania and their Australian work boots have become synonymous with durability.

These water-resistant leather versions have found a permanent place in my hiking kit – the sheepskin inside sole means they’re seriously warm and the waterproof latex seams meant my feet stayed dry during a seriously rainy countryside hike, when others around me were drenched. They were also comfy; on first wear I had one tiny niggle around the elastic, but it didn’t come to anything and I’ve not noticed any rubbing since.

Blundstone boots

A friend who’s had hers for a couple of years tells me she might be getting to the point of re-waxing them to keep them fully weather-proof, but she’s a twice a day hardcore dog walker… so I don’t anticipate having to worry about that for a very long time. 

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8. KEEN women’s Terradora leather waterproof mid-hiking boots

£187.20 – £238.19, Amazon

Keen Women's boots

Specifically designed for women, these have a nubuck leather upper, rubber outsoles, a breathable leather lining and one of those shock-absorbing EVA midsoles I like to go for.

The Terradora vie with the Scarpa Terra GTX’s in terms of comfort – but the Scarpa trump them when it comes to grip.

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9. Berghaus Explorer Trek

£140, Cotswold Outdoor

The Berghaus Explorer Trek from the well-loved British brand is another brilliant example of a fabric walking boot designed well, and it comes recommended by the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Like the Merrell Siren Edge Q2, it’s designed with fell walking in mind. They’re breathable, tough and well-cushioned, all at the same time, with an EVA midsole that absorbs stress and impact on the body. The sole is Berghaus’s own brand, OPTI-STUD®, and they have good grip even at vertiginous angles in wet conditions. 

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10. Danner Cascade Mountain Light women’s boots

£280.30, Danner

Danner boots

The women’s Danner Mountain Light Cascade boots, first made in the Seventies, are quite possibly my top pick in terms of aesthetic. Just look at them! If you liked the look of the Meindl Bhutan’s, you’ll love these – worn by Reese Witherspoon in her Hollywood adaptation of Wild, the distinctive red laces are unmistakeably Instaworthy. But unlike so many other fashion-first hiking boots, they’re also practical and functional enough for hardcore backpacking, with a rugged Vibram Kletterlift outsole.

Danner women's walking boots
Reese Witherspoon wears Danner walking boots as Cheryl Strayed in Wild, trekking the Pacific Coast Trail

Unlike many of the other leather boots featured here, they’re not nubuck leather, but full-grain leather – so be warned, they need considerable wearing in, and they have a price tag to match. Long term, your patience, and the financial investment required, will be rewarded.

The one-piece leather design (which ages well and patinas over the years) means you’re fully protected from debris, and from the elements. They dry off quickly, and if you’re intrepid enough to wear them out, Danner offer recrafting services including part-replacement, leather care and restitching. 

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What To Look For When Buying Walking Boots

There is a myriad of elements to look at when searching for the best three-season walking boots, and even among this category, there’s a wide range of styles. It all depends on what you’ll be using them for.

Three-Season Walking Boots Buyer’s Guide

Lightweight Walking Boots Buyer’s Guide

Best Walking Shoes

For scrambling and summer mountaineering, you need a pair of boots that fit snugly and hold your toes for a decisive climb on steep rock. Boots such as the Hanwag and La Sportiva examples here also have stiffer soles. For that kind of stuff, it’s worth checking out our round up of the best mountaineering boots we posted recently.

For long-distance mountain walking without too much steep ground, then aim for a pair with a wider toe cap to let your feet relax and balance. We’d file the Danner and the Keen boots here under the category.

A Boot Fitting Guide

Once you’ve decided on end use, it’s time to start looking at fit. There should be enough room for your toes to wiggle and overall, once laced up, they should feel snug and secure with no hotspots that could lead to rubbing or blisters. The days of ‘breaking-in’ shoes are almost over. While they all benefit from time to get to know your feet, most will feel good walking out of the shop. All of these boots will have half-size increments.

Fit and comfort are of the paramount importance and should override any other considerations, but it’s also worth thinking about the material used. Leather is very durable but needs more looking after. It also tends to be heavier than synthetic materials. Consider too the waterproof membrane. Not all boots have a waterproof lining. Having one will mean they keep your feet dry (usually) but will run hot no matter how breathable the manufacturers claim the membrane is. It’s the same situation as you’ll find with even the best waterproof jackets out there. Most of the boots here have a Gore-Tex membrane or something similar. It’s less critical on leather boots as cowhide is naturally water resistant if treated.

Other elements to think about include the outsole. Will the lugs stand up against the wet soil of Britain or are they designed for trotting across dry Californian rock? Are the laces easy to tighten?
You usually just know when you’ve got the right boot for you, so if something is not quite right, move on.

The Best Walking Boots 2021

  • Hanwag Banks II GTX – Best Walking Boot Tested
  • Haglöfs Duality GTX – Best Lightweight Walking Boot
  • Adidas Terrex Free Hiker
  • Inov-8 Roclite 345 – Best Fast Hiking Boot
  • Haglöfs Skuta Mid Proof Eco
  • Keen Targhee
  • Hoka One One Stinson Mid GTX
  • On Cloudrock
  • Merrell Chameleon 8
  • Asolo Greenwood

BEST BUY: Hanwag Banks GTX

Price: £287
Weight: 720g
Best for: Hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Comfortable, durable

Hanwag’s popular Banks boot, originally released 16 years ago, has been updated for 2020 with new materials and a slightly modernised design and fit. It’s still as stable, durable and comfortable as ever, so seems made for managing a day wading through sticky peat on top of Kinder Scout or for navigating the bogland of Rannoch Moor.

The Banks II proved its versatility while on Jack’s Rake. Photo: Jordan Tiernan

It also comes in a number of different variations to cater for different foot shapes. The standard model has their StraightFit last which gives a nice amount of space around the toes to let them sit naturally, then there’s the new SF Extra version which offers a wider fit around the ball of the foot. There are ladies specific variations of both of these models, plus a narrow fit option as well.

If you want something reliable enough and comfortable enough for a big day hike, or maybe even a national trail, the Banks GTX would be a very safe bet.

Full Specifications

Huge range of sizes and fits / Slightly larger forefoot for enhanced walking comfort / Reinforced PU foam wedge / Robust cast metal lace hooks / Inside stitch-and-turn seams for abrasion resistance / GORE-TEX lining

Read our full Hanwag Banks GTX review

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Haglöfs Duality

Price: £220 (AT1)
Weight: 363g (per shoe)
Best for: Summer hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Versatile, eco-friendly

The Haglöfs Duality AT1 is a hiking boot that comes with two sets of midsoles, each one designed to help the shoe handle different terrain. The red midsole brings a nice bit of cushioning underfoot to make this suited to country walks, gentler hill walks and also just road or pavement use, while the grey midsole stiffens the sole unit up. This shields your feet from sharp rocks and roots, making the boot suitable for mountain terrain and more challenging trails.

An aggressive, trail shoe-like outsole. Photo: Chris Johnson
Even the laces are made from recycled materials. Photo: Chris Johnson

The super comfy knitted upper is made from 100% recycled polyester, so too are the laces and the webbing on the heel, and the sole unit is easy to remove and replace should any issues occur. Haglöfs have also used Bloom Foam to make the midsoles, which utilises algal blooms taken from waterways. By removing it, these waterways are essentially turned back into much healthier ecosystems for marine life to thrive. Using this instead of your more typical plastic-based foam made from non-renewables also has its obvious benefits in terms of environmental impact as well.

The mesh upper makes this an extremely comfortable shoe to wear, one with a sock-like fit. Fortunately it also has a decent amount of durability to it as well thanks to the premium leather Haglöfs have used (this, by the way, comes from a tannery that meets a set of stringent ethical and environmental standards). It’s very lightweight at just 363g (per shoe) so you certainly feel very agile in these.

Though the AT1 boot isn’t waterproof, for £20 extra you can get a version that has a Gore-Tex lining (the AT1 GT). There’s also the AT2, which has a lower cut ankle.

Full Specifications

Sizes: men’s UK 6.5-12.5, women’s UK 4-8.5 / Exchangeable midsole / Premium sustainable leather with fluorocarbon free DWR / AHAR Plus (ASICS High Abrasion Resistance Rubber) outsole / Algae-based BLOOM FOAM in midsoles for excellent comfort, saving fresh water and CO2 / Knitted upper with sock comfort, made from 100% recycled polyester / Finger loop webbing on heel and tongue / Webbing and laces made from 100% recycled polyester

Chosen for our Green Gear Guide 2021. Read the full Haglofs Duality AT1 review

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Adidas Terrex Free Hiker

Price: £170
Weight: 382g
Best for: Fast hiking
Key attributes: Well-cushioned, lightweight

The Free Hiker is arguably one of the biggest releases from Adidas Terrex this season; a hiking boot that features their trademark running technology – Boost.  Boost is essentially a foam-based midsole that offers large amounts of cushioning with quite a springy feeling whilst you’re walking. It makes for an impressive amount of comfort on the trails that you’ll be thankful of after a few miles in your legs.

Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson

Also underfoot, you’ve got a Continental rubber outsole with 5mm lugs that wouldn’t look out of place on a trail running shoe. It’s these lugs that give some great traction over the trails. Another similarity to a trail shoe is the weight of the Free Hiker – 382g – something that you’re again going to appreciate as you start logging those miles.

Full Specifications

Sizes 5 – 14 (UK) / available in men’s and women’s / Primeknit upper with abrasion-resistant weldings / Continental rubber outsole / Boost midsole / midsole drop: 10 mm (heel 33 mm / forefoot 23 mm) / moulded TPU toe cap / heel cap for stability on the heel.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker here

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Hoka One One Stinson Mid GTX

Price: £160
Weight: 481g (per boot)
Best for: Long-distance hiking, trekking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Comfortable, well-cushioned

Built for long-distance comfort, this is a boot with plenty of plush cushioning. Considering the flexibility of the sole and the Stinson’s overall lightweight nature, we’d say it’s best suited to three-season use.

There’s a minor toe bumper to protect the upper. Photo: Mike Brindley

The uppers are nubuck leather, backed with a Gore-Tex membrane for full waterproof protection. There’s a modest toe bumper to protect from rocks, a tall ankle cuff with a comfy moulded foam and then side wings that work well with the laces and the tongue to give a wraparound hold. It feels like a well-made boot, with quality features and materials throughout.

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s UK 6.5-13.5 / Waterproof Nubuck leather upper and GORE-TEX waterproof bootie / Moulded foam collar / Gusseted tongue / Wide midsole and accommodating fit ensure a comfortable ride / High volume CMEVA midsole for lightweight cushioning / 4mm lugs

Chosen for our 2020 Outdoor 100. Read our full Hoka One One Stinson Mid GTX review

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Inov-8 Roclite 345

Price: £155
Weight: 345g

Inov-8 are usually known for their aggressively soled, super-lightweight trail running shoes that grace the feet of many athletes, particularly those in the UK trail running scene. They aren’t however known so well for their walking boots, but that’s changed recently with the release of their all new Roclite G 345 and Roclite G 370 hiking boots.

Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson

Inov-8 have gone for fast and light boot with the Roclite 345. It’s going to be ideal on something like a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, with its mid cut ankle, low weight of 345g per boot and that sole unit which is basically that of a trail running shoe. But there’s also a trick up its sleeve, and that’s its use of Graphene, the world’s strongest material. Put simply, this sole isn’t going to wear down on you anytime soon.

Full Specifications

Sizes 5-12 / graphene-enhanced G-GRIP outsole / multi-directional, claw-shaped cleats with a wide contact area / Gore-Tex waterproof lining / Powerflow midsole delivers 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the Inov-8 Roclite 345 here

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Haglöfs Skuta Eco Proof

Price: £120
Weight: 950g
Best for: Hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Comfortable, eco-friendly

As we’ve come to expect from Swedish brand Haglofs, the Skuta Mid Proof Eco has been built with sustainability in mind. This has been done by avoiding the use of any nasty chemicals in its creation. What we’re specifically referring to are those PFCs or perfluorinated compounds, which have been proven to be environmentally hazardous. In an impressively bold move, Haglöfs have said they’ll actually be phasing out fluorocarbons from their complete range by 2020.

Eco friendliness aside, we think that these are a nice-looking boot, successfully blending that traditional leather look with a modern style to create something that looks high-tech without being over the top or ‘out there’. It’s generously cushioned and fairly flexible midsole features both EVA foam and a shock absorbing gel so you can expect comfort over distances. All-in-all, a great boot at a decent price as well.

Full Specifications

Sizes 6.5-12.5 (UK) / waterproof, fluorocarbon free Proof Eco membrane / Gel rearfoot cushioning / moulded EVA midsole / premium eco-friendly leather / Asics high abrasion resistance rubber

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the Haglofs Skuta Mid Proof Eco here

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Keen Targhee III

Price: £120
750g (per pair)Best for: Hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Versatile, eco-friendly

The Targhee III is an ideal all-rounder, a boot that’ll suit everything from country walks and dog walks to day hikes in a national park and even the odd long-distance backpacking trip.

This latest version is now greener than ever. The upper use a PFC-free water repellent treatment, while the inner lining and insole has an anti-odour treatment that utilises a safe, naturally occurring probiotic. There’s a sustainable leather upper, backed up by the brand’s proprietary Keen.Dry waterproof membrane. There’s also one of those rounded toe bumpers that have come to characterise Keen hiking boots, plus the webbing system that integrates with the laces to lock in the heel.

Underfoot, there’s a removable footbed, a decent shank that protects from rough rocks and roots well while still allowing a bit of foot flex and there’s an injected PU foam for shock absorption and general comfort.

At 375g per boot, the Targhee is relatively light. The price is competitive too, though do bear in mind that the Targhee III isn’t the kind of boot that’s going to last you for years and years. However, it’s good to see the steps Keen have taken in regards to sustainability. For a few years now, the outdoor footwear industry seems to have been behind outdoor apparel when it comes to eco developments, but Keen have been one of the exceptions.

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s US 6-16, women’s US 2.5-8.5 / Sustainable leather uppers with KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane / Speed hook lacing / Injected TPU heel-capture system for stability / ESS shank offers lightweight support / 4mm multi-directional lugs for traction / Cleansport NXT inner treatment for natural odour control

Chosen for our Green Gear Guide 2021 – take a closer look at the Keen Targhee III here

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On Cloudrock WP

Price: £180
Weight: 445g
Best for: Fast hiking
Key attributes: Well-cushioned, lightweight

If you’re looking to up your daily mileage on your hikes, you’ll love this walking boot, which is imbued with the fast-moving energy of a running shoe. As such, we’d argue this is the ideal boot for anyone taking part in a timed, multi-day, hiking challenge, like the Welsh 3000s, or just a simple long-distance yomp. Its effective waterproofing also means the boot is great for outdoor enthusiasts who like to be about and about, come rain or shine.

Founded in 2010, On are famous for their running shoes. Photo: Mike Brindley
Comfortable and grippy underfoot. Photo: Mike Brindley

The Cloudrock features On’s proprietary waterproof membrane which is guarded by a nylon upper with a light PU lamination in certain parts of the upper to add structure and protection. The rubber mudguard is more than tough enough to handle the hits, but it’s also light and flexible to elevate the boot’s overall speediness.

The Missiongrip rubber adds traction, and the clever lugs really bite down into soft trails – meaning you can properly put the pedal down and make powerful, confident, strides on them day-long marches in the hills. One downside we’ve found is that the lugs do tend to get a bit clogged up with mud and stones at times.

Something On call a ‘Speedboard’ lines the sole to provide stability, propulsion and protection from sharp stuff underfoot. With each step, the Cloudtec elements compress to soften the landing each time your foot strikes the ground and while this is happening, the Speedboard flexes – loading itself with energy from the impact. It’s all impressive sounding stuff, as is the low weight. At just 445g, speedy hiking boots don’t come much more lightweight than the Cloudrock.

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s UK 6.5-12, women’s UK 3-9 / Wind- and waterproof membrane upper / Padded collar and tongue / Rubberized mudguard / Missiongrip rubber outsole / FlexLock lacing system / Speedboard midsole / Zero-Gravity CloudTec pods.

Chosen for our 2020 Outdoor 100 – take a closer look at the On Cloudrock Waterproof here

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Merrell Chameleon 8 GTX

Price: £150
Weight: 1040g (per pair)
Best for: Hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Comfortable, durable

The Chameleon 8 has all the right features for three-season UK hiking. It’s nothing overly technical so it’s not one for rocky alpine scrambles, but the waterproof liner, high comfort levels and supportive feel make it right at home in somewhere like the Lake District.

You’ll can also get this version as a lower cut shoe. Photo: Mike Brindley

This model has considerably less stitching than the previous generation Chameleon 7 boot, which ought to mean better long term durability. The nubuck leather is good quality too, and there’s a Gore-Tex lining. The lacing system is smooth and reliable. The ankle is a standard height for a mid cut (it was a low mid cut on the last model) and there’s plenty of padding around it.

Underfoot, there’s a lot of shock absorption thanks to an EVA foam midsole and removable insole, and there’s a nice bit of rigidity and protection from sharp roots and rocks thanks to a lightweight plastic shank. There’s also more reliable traction thanks to an increased lug depth of 5mm instead of 3mm. The rubber is also a good quality compound developed by Vibram.

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s US 6.5-15 / GORE-TEX waterproof membrane / Nubuck leather upper / Bellows tongue / Rubber rand and toe cap / Merrell Air Cushion in the heel / EVA foam midsole / Lightweight FlexPlate technology for torsional rigidity / Vibram XS Trek Evo outsole with 5mm lug depth

Selected for the 2020 Outdoor 100 – take a closer look at the Merrell Chameleon 8 GTX here

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Asolo Greenwood

Price: £200
Weight: 676g

Italian bookmaker Asolo have created a classic walking boot with the new Greenwood. What we love is it’s sleek, but tough and durable build, and the solid sole unit which provides stable grip, no matter the terrain that you’re travelling through. 

Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson

Outdoors Magic Editor Will Renwick spent some time in the Greenwood GV: “I do like a leather boot, especially if it’s Italian. The Greenwood is a classic example of a simple yet effective option. I’ve used it for most days over the past three weeks on rocky scrambles and boggy ground and yet there’s still no sign of wear whatsoever. The tough Perwanger leather and rubber toe cap keep everything protected and the cuff is soft and padded-out nicely for a comfortable fit. A lovely boot.”

Full Specifications

Sizes 6-13.5 (UK) / available in men’s and women’s /  water-resistant Perwanger leather / Gore-Tex waterproof lining / Vibram Megagrip outsole

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the Asolo Greenwood GV here

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Other Walking Boots We’ve Rated In 2020

La Sportiva TX4

Price: £165
Weight: 485g
Best for: Hiking, hillwalking, scrambling, approach
Key attributes: Precise, grippy

La Sportiva have taken their climbing shoe knowledge and applied it with great success to their range of approach shoes and boots – the Traverse X line. As the name implies, the line is designed to traverse mountainous terrain, whether that be via ferrata, mountain ridges, or easy trad climbing.

“The grip has been great over all of the terrain I’ve been testing them out on, and also the waterproofing has certainly been up to scratch,” said Outdoors Magic gear tester Anna Blackwell, who took the TX4 out during a testing trip in the Brecon Beacons. “These are right at home on rocky routes, but are also a good option for easier hiking and hillwalking as well.”

Full Specifications

Sizes 36-47.5 (EU) / available in men’s and women’s / Gore-Tex waterproof lining / shock absorbing EVA midsole / Vibram Mega-Grip outsole / Impact Brake System / climbing zone at the toe / Mythos lacing system

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the La Sportiva TX4 Mid here

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Hoka One One Sky Kaha

Price: £180
Weight: 508g
Best for: Hiking, lightweight backpacking
Key attributes: Comfortable, well cushioned

Best known for their highly cushioned running shoes, Hoka One One have now started making moves into the walking boot market with their all new Sky Series of boots. This, the Sky Kaha do still carry that classic Hoka cushioning, but they’ve been adapted to provide comfort and stability over long distances with a heavy pack.

At a glance, with their leather upper, chunky midsole and aggressive lugs, you may assume that they’re going to be on the heavy side. However, coming in at a measly 508g per shoe, these are far more nimble than your usual mid cut boots.

Other useful features to note include an eVent waterproof lining behind the already water resistant leather upper, a Vibram Megagrip outsole and a neutral ramp angle of 6mm.

Full Specifications

Sizes 6.5-13.5 (UK) / available in men’s and women’s / eVent Waterproof bootie / full grain, waterproof leather / EVA top layer of midsole / Rangi bottom foam midsole / Vibram Megagrip outsole with 5mm lugs / multidirectional lugs for supreme grip on varied terrain

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the Hoka One One Sky Kaha here

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Danner Trail 2650 GTX Mid

Price: £111
Weight: 793g (pair)
Best for: Hiking, easy trails
Key attributes: Lightweight, protective

Sitting just on the ankle bone, the height that Danner have gone for with this mid cut puts it in some kind of limbo between a walking boot and shoe. It’s not so high that it’s constricting and heavy like you’re typical walking boots and it’s not so low that you’ve got to tip-toe around the shallowest of puddles or constantly stop to empty out grit that’s managed to find its way in. For anyone who’s not keen on the mid cut, don’t worry, there’s also a low walking shoe version as well – and that’s a fair bit cheaper actually.

The insole has an ergonomic feel to it, the midsole has a lovely amount of cushioning and the toe strikes the right balance between precision and long-distance comfort. 

The upper mixes a light suede leather with a bit of mesh and there’s a Gore-Tex lining underneath. There’s also an external heel lock. This is was a bit ‘marmite’ for our team. It does keep your foot in place but it also looks a bit… weird. The whole design of the upper is a good one though; it makes the Trail 2650 sturdy and protective but without being too heavy or hot.

Full Specifications

Sizes: US 7-14 (men’s, US 5-11 (women’s) / 793g per pair / 4″ in height / Ortholite footbed / TPU shank / Vibram 460 / Suede and textile upper / Gore-Tex lining / EVA mid sole.

Read our full Danner Trail 2650 GTX Mid review

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Keen Venture Mid

Price: £130
Weight: 510g
Best for: Three-season hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Lightweight, breathable

Keen have ticked a number of boxes with this, a lightweight, breathable (yet waterproof) boot that’s able to provide a comfortable, all-day fit.  Key features include a lightweight, waterproof Keen.Dry upper and a ‘KonnectFit’ heel-capture system that’s able to anchor your foot securely and comfortably into the heel cup of the boot.

Keen have also kitted the Venture Mid out with a sole unit with 4mm multi-directional lugs that are well engineered, clamping your step in place both uphill and downhill. Sandwiched between the lightweight upper and grip sole is EVA foam which provides lightweight cushioning. There’s also that semi-solid toe bumper to protect your toes and the material of the upper.

Full Specifications

Sizes 6-14 (UK) / speed hooks for easy lace adjustment / removable PU insole with arch support  / EVA midsole for cushioning / Keen All-Terrain rubber outsole / 4mm multi-directional lugs / Keen.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane / Konnectfit locks down heel

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the Keen Venture Mid here

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Hanwag Tatra II GTX

Price: £230
Weight: 2002g
Best for: Hiking, hillwalking, trekking
Key attributes: Stable, durable

German manufacturers Hanwag make exceptional boots designed with the landscapes of the Alps in mind. We’ve come to appreciate the brand as a mark of quality craftsmanship; these are boots we reckon would last a lifetime with care. They can be resoled too.

The company makes a wide range of mountaineering and trekking boots, as well as trail and approach shoes. The Tatra II GTX is a hugely popular trekking boot, made with a durable leather upper and with as few seams as possible. The sole is super sturdy too, very stiff (not crampon-compatible) but it gives you the feeling that you can wander over any terrain. These do feel indestructible.

The lacing is particularly efficient, with ball-bearing runners that also clamp tight on four of the lower eyelets and then there are regular hooks. Once fastened tight, the cuff high above the ankle is comfortable thanks to a soft leather interior lining. Caps at the heel and toe help protect the foot. So far, so great. The only criticism aimed at these is that they are heavy, more than any others on test here. In many ways, these are the quintessential trekking boot: leather, durable, solidly built.

Here’s our full video review of the boot…

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s UK 6-13, women’s UK 3.5-9 / Wide range of fits / Nubuck leather / Gore-Tex membrane / Vibram AW Integral sole / Tongue lace hook / Padded soft leather cuff with vent holes / Protective heel and toe caps

For more, check out our full Hanwag Tatra II GTX review

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Tecnica Forge GTX

Price: £192
Weight: 1090g
Best for: Hiking, trekking, hillwalking
Key attributes: Comfortable custom fit

Named Product of the Year at the 2018 ISPO gear show, these boots make use of the custom fit process typically found in skiing and snowboarding boots. This process involves heating the boots to expand the foam within to mould around the shape of your feet and subsequently to set in that position as it cools. This custom fit provides comfort over long-distance, ultimately reducing the risk of any niggling bits that cause blisters. 

But there’s so much more to these boots than just the thermo-moulding process. They’re made from a nice 1.8mm Nubuck leather (a synthetic version is also available) with little ventilation holes punched throughout. Then there’s a Gore-Tex membrane lining it for waterproof breathability, a two-layer EVA foam midsole and a sticky outsole made from Vibram MegaGrip.

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s UK 6-12, women’s UK 3.5-8 / 1.8mm Nubuck leather upper with stretch fabric base / Gore-Tex waterproof lining / Vibram Megagrip outsole / 2 layers of EVA midsole

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the Tecnica Forge here

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Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

Price: £180
Weight: 1524g

These are one of the best-selling boots in the UK and with good reason. They are superbly comfortable and very well made. The first thing to notice is how high these are. They go well above the ankle and up to the shin. It makes them very stable on rocky ground – the chances of going over on your ankle in these is slim. The sole is reasonably stiff – up a steep Munro these would be perfect, they are also rigid torsionally. The lacing is good too, drawing in well around the foot.

There’s a reasonable amount of cushioning with a good roll to the boots for all-day comfort. The outsole is reasonably aggressive, especially on the heels – they feel wonderful heading downhill.

The high cut, Gore-Tex lining and chunky leather and fabric uppers make them fairly warm boots. There’s plenty of panelling and stitching too, which makes us question their likely long-term durability a little. But other than that, there’s little to fault.

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s UK 6.5-13.5, women’s UK 3.5-7.5 / Nubuck leather upper / Gore-Tex waterproof lining / 4D Advanced Chassis dual-density midsole / Contagrip TD outsole

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