The best walking boots for 2020
A good pair of walking boots can be a game-changer – whether you're planning to hike the fells of the Lake District, the cliffs of the South Coast, or just want something waterproof for taking the dog for a walk. Here are the 13 best pairs of hiking boots for any budget.
First thing's first: with walking boots, you really do get what you pay for. If you just plan on popping the boots on a few times a year for a ramble and fancy some extra support, the boots at the lower end of the price spectrum will be fine.
However, if you want to hit the peaks or do any kind of extended walking, the more money you part with the better – just remember to break the boots in first.
Key things to look out for when you're buying a pair of walking boots
- How will they fit with your walking socks? Some people wear more than one pair
- Look out for good ankle support, particularly if you're planning on climbing mountains and ridges
- Check that your heel doesn't move up and down too much on the ascent
- Check that your toes don't bump against the front of the boot on the descent
- It's also recommended to try going up a half size from your day to day footwear as your feet will swell slightly as you walk
If you go and try on your boots in person, a good shop should allow you to try walking on different gradients and terrain. If you order online, make sure you recreate all these tests at home before heading outdoors for the first time.
“Fit can vary so much between walking boots that what's best for you is not necessarily going to be best for someone else. The fit is the most important thing, so find a shop and try lots on.”
“I recommend that you go and try a few pairs from different brands to see what fits well. Boots vary enormously, and a good boot fitter should be able to sort you out. Think about what you want the boots for – just walking? Summer only? Or winter too? High level or lowland? Are your feet particularly wide or narrow?”
Why you should trust us
In order to provide honest and independent advice you can trust, we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate – and with 706 mentions of walking boots or hiking boots on Mumsnet Talk last year, we thought a summary of your favourite pairs would come in handy.
We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.
After lots of research, here are the best walking boots for women.
The best walking boots for under £50
1. Karrimor Bodmin Mid 5, from £36
If you're on a tight budget, Mumsnetters swear by Karrimor. For a fraction of the price of the higher-end options, they're a lightweight and sturdy pair of boots – and they definitely look the part too.
They're great value for money and they've proven themselves waterproof, comfortable and long-lasting time and time again.
“Karrimor will absolutely do the job. We’re not serious hikers but have had them for years without issue.”
“I have a pair of Karrimor boots and they are extremely comfortable. I've had frequent use out of them with the dog, and had them over a year and they still look and feel as they did when I got them. Quite a decent pair consider the low price tag – very happy with them.”Buy now from Amazon
2. Hi-Tec Bandera II, from £37.95
Similar to the Karrimor pair, these boots from Hi-Tec have everything you'll need for weekend jaunts and hillwalking.
They may not be the best pick if you're planning on summiting mountains in the UK (Mumsnet users warn they don't have the best grip on wet rocky ground), but they're a comfy and affordable option for pretty much everything else. We're particular fans of the Cornflower Sprout colourway.
“My first walking boots were a pair of Hi-Tecs. I walked across the Grand Canyon in them and they served me well.”
“Hi-Tec do a really good range – I have a pair and they are really comfy, lightweight and Vibram. And not too £££.”Buy now from Amazon
3. Gelert Leather Upper-Cushioned Boots, from £32.99
You know it's a good sign when a pair of boots just looks comfortable. Made from a coated leather/synthetic mix, the material isn't the tip-top quality found in the more expensive pairs, but it's waterproof and comfy, which is really all that matters.
“Mine have been fab. They're really lightweight and waterproof, and have been great for dog walks on waterlogged paths around the lake and for weekend walks. I'll never spend more than £50 on walking boots again – these didn't even need breaking in!”Buy now from Amazon
The best walking boots for under £100
4. Tecnica Starcross Waterproof Walking Boots, £79.99
If you have a slightly bigger budget, these boots from Tecnica have a Vibram sole for optimal grip and durability, but be warned that they aren't designed to stray too far off-road.
Mostly designed for walking on tarmac and flat paths, they probably aren't the best option if you're planning the Three Peaks Challenge – but for moseying around the countryside with the dog, they'll be more than ideal.
“I have a pair of Tecnica boots that I love and which aren't too hot even in a southern French summer. They are also waterproof and extremely comfortable.”
“Decathlon and Go Outdoors have some cheaper walking gear, and it's still proper quality and their staff are trained to fit.”Buy now from Decathlon
5. KEEN Women's Terradora High-Rise Hiking Shoes, from £55.70
These lightweight boots are not only comfy and cosy, but also have a waterproof coating meaning they'll keep your feet dry.
There's a fancy padded ankle panel to give your achilles a rest and, crucially, some natural odour control technology. Be warned, though – they're not the hardiest of boots, so if you're planning on getting a lot of day-to-day wear they may not be the best choice.
“Keen are amazingly comfortable – their boots, shoes and sandals. I first got some when I was in Canada and I’ve continued to buy them once home. You can hunt around and find them on offer quite often.”Buy now from Amazon
6. Salomon Women's Hiking and Multisport Shoes, from £62.20
A classy performance boot, you can expect an awful lot of bells and whistles with a pair of Salomons.
The pros include a GORE-TEX® upper to keep your toes dry, an EnergyCell midsole to keep you comfy, and a High Traction Contagrip outsole to keep you firmly upright as you hike – fancy, hey?
They're long-lasting and technical, perfect if you're planning to do some serious walking.
“I have a cracking Salomon pair which were a birthday gift from my DP replacing my previous Salomon pair I had had for about 15 years.”
“I wear Salomon walking boots a lot – they're waterproof, light, comfy and I can walk long distances in them without tiring. They are also fine in rain, ice and snow. Five star recommendation.”Buy now from Amazon
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The best walking boots for under £150
7. Trespass Merse Breathable Walking Boots, from £34.99 (RRP £115.99)
If you're new to this whole hiking boot malarkey, these Trespass boots are ideal as a first pair.
They're mid-cut with a great amount of ankle support, and they're made from rubber and mesh fabric which means that they'll be comfy and cosy. There are even three colour options to choose from as well.
“I have really wide feet and after trying on loads of brands the only pair that felt comfortable from the start were Trespass. They are lightweight, keep my feet dry and have a good grip too.”Buy now from Trespass
8. Brasher Country Walker Boots, £100 (RRP £125)
For a timelessly classic boot which is neither out of place in the valleys and fells of the Lakes nor walking your pup round a North London park, look no further than these tan coloured boots by Brasher.
Made from premium waterproof leather with suede around the ankle, they're soft and supple but also tough and hardwearing.
“I have Brashers and I've found them great. I have wide feet at the front and there's plenty of room in them. I broke them in on a 20-mile clifftop walk and nary a blister in sight.”Buy now from Blacks
9. Merrell Vego Mid Leather Waterproof Boots, £85 (RRP £120)
Loved by experienced hikers, Merrell's no-nonsense boots are sleek and sophisticated but also hardy.
Sure, you're paying a little extra for the brand name, but Mumsnet users love the value for money so it is worth splashing out. This pair is also particularly lightweight, meaning they won't tire you out as quickly on a long walk (we'll take any help we can get).
“I have found Merrell hiking boots superior to other brands. They're comfortable and practical, and I haven't been let down by them yet.”
“My Merrell boots have been bloody brilliant. They're seven years old now and I've never had a pair so long.”Buy now from Merrell
10. The North Face Hedgehog Hike II Mid-Rise Boots, £84 (RRP £140)
If you want brownie points for style from the teens in your life, The North Face has had a recent fashion renaissance.
These boots have loads of the technical features you'd expect from walking boots, including a GORE-TEX® membrane and Vibram™ XS Trek outsole, and are a solid choice for the fashion-conscious out there.
“Mine are The North Face – had them about eight years and they're still totally waterproof and very comfortable. I'm not sure the grip is as good as it could be, though.”Buy now from The North Face
The best walking boots for under £200
11. Berghaus Ladies Hillmaster II GTX Boot, from £122.95
Renowned for their top-quality hiking gear (particularly their waterproof coats and jackets, if you're wondering where you've seen them before), it's no surprise that Berghaus made it into our round-up of walking boots.
With all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a technical brand, but very little fuss, a pair of Berghaus boots are a safe bet indeed.
“I have quite wide feet and have some great Berghaus walking boots.”
“My Berghaus boots lasted way longer than my old Merrells, and they're so comfy.”
“I wear Berghaus ones. My first pair lasted about four years of being worn pretty much daily in all weather conditions with very little cleaning or maintenance, and I've recently replaced those with an identical pair.”Buy now from Amazon
12. Scarpa Terra GTX Walking Boots, £144 (RRP £160)
These good-looking leather boots are as sturdy and tough as they are aesthetically pleasing. Hiking enthusiasts on the Mumsnet forums love their durability and comfort, and even swear that they've worn them in 'Proper Scottish Rain' and survived to tell the tale (high praise indeed).
They may be at the pricier end of the spectrum, but you'll most definitely get your wear out of them.
“I love my Scarpa boots. They are as comfortable at the end of the day as they are at the beginning.”
“I walked the West Highland Way in August, including three days of torrential rain, and Scarpas kept my feet dry and I got no blisters. The quality is first rate – worth spending the money if you're a regular hiker.”
“I’ve got Scarpa boots that I’m happy with. I must have had them nearly ten years, and they’re great – comfortable and waterproof. I’ve used them for mountain hikes, local walks and they’re my go to footwear when it snows.”Buy now from GO Outdoors
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The best walking boots for under £250
13. Meindl Bhutan Walking Boots, £209.93
If you're after some boots that will go the distance, Meindl are the undisputed champions. With so many Mumsnet users boasting that their boots have lasted decades (quite literally), it's understandable that they are the most expensive brand in this list.
However, if you can afford the initial cost – without taking out a small mortgage – then you can guarantee you'll be trekking the mountains in absolute comfort for a fair few years yet.
“I've had my Meindl boots for 18 years and they're still fantastic.”
“Meindl are by far the best – mine have lasted ages and I have worked as a ranger in the Scottish Highlands! Expensive but well worth the money.”
“My husband's Meindl boots lasted for years and years. We did the Coast to Coast and lots of other long-distance walks.”Buy now from Amazon
How to make your walking boots even comfier
Sometimes, even the perfect shoes can be uncomfortable. If you find that your boots rub or make your feet sore at all, Mumsnetters love these Superfeet insoles (£36.94):
“The Superfeet Green insoles are an absolute game changer for me – I have high arches and tight calves.”
“Agree with the tip to get Superfeet insoles. Mine are seriously brilliant. I have them in shoes most days and they are the only thing that have got rid of my plantar fasciitis.”
“Top tip: get Superfeet insoles. Never a blister again and fab for narrow feet because you can get boots that are long enough not to bash toes on the end while still fitting snugly.”
Psst: they're also great for plantar fasciitis and other aches and pains.
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