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Best walking boots for women: comfortable shoes for any type of hike

Make molehills out of mountains with a kick-ass pair of walking boots. Whether you're dog walking or climbing mountains, we reveal the best options for every budget.

By Karla Napoleon | Last updated May 18, 2022

Woman walking in the countryside

Whether a longstanding love, or a fledgling romance begun during lockdown, more and more of us are enjoying the benefits of walking. It’s great for our mental health and physical wellbeing too - keeping our heart, muscles and bones healthy and reducing our risk of certain conditions including cancer and diabetes.

Combine that with the incredible scenery this country has to offer and a pub lunch, and you’ve got a fairly unbeatable way to spend a day.

When it comes to walking kit, aside from the right clothes, a rucksack and a Thermos, a good pair of boots is non-negotiable, particularly if you’re going to be racking up those miles or tackling hills and varied terrain.

The best ladies’ walking boots will ensure your feet stay dry and comfortable and your ankles are well supported, and most importantly, when faced with loose scree or slippery slopes, help keep you stable.

There’s so much choice, however, that deciding on a pair can feel more exhausting than tackling ten Wainwrights. And the manufacturers might make plenty of promises, but how do you know whether they’ll go the distance?

To help you out, we assessed the walking boots currently available to show you those we think really deliver on their promises. 

How we chose the best walking boots

To find the best ladies’ walking boots, we extensively researched both the latest models and the more established styles by evaluating reviews, write-ups and experiences from a wide range of trusted sources. Here's how we found our top 10.

Expert opinions

Walking boots are a considered purchase and there’s lots of technical jargon to unwrap. This is where the expert sites come in, with in-depth analysis on the boots’ capabilities. We investigated the recommendations of various expert sites including specialist outdoor websites and other reputable best buy lists.

Recommendations from real Mumsnet users

From dog walkers to weekend ramblers to hill hounds, our Mumsnet users have collectively chalked up thousands of miles. We delved into the Talk boards to research which boots were universally rated, as well uncover gems other review sites might have overlooked. We analysed the best walking boots women loved, as well as those they didn’t, including any niggles they had with popular boots. 

Authentic customer reviews

Once we had our long list, we then scrutinised verified customer reviews on retailer websites. Often, these can pick out things that expert reviews have missed, so we made sure to include these in our list of pros and cons for each boot. 

So whether your beloved boots have given up the ghost or you’ve recently got the walking bug, our list of thoroughly vetted footwear is a great place to start the search for a new pair.

One thing to bear in mind is that the fit of walking boots can vary largely between wearers. A boot that’s a perfect fit for one person might not feel so great for another. So, use our recommendations as a starting point. Make sure to wear your boots around the house before taking them outside, so you can return them if they don’t feel like a good fit for you.

Here are the best walking boots for women in the UK.

1. Best overall walking boots for women: Adidas Terrex AX4 Mid Gore-Tex

Adidas Terrex AX4 Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes

Price: £120 | Buy now from Adidas

“They’re great. Indestructible, waterproof and light as a feather.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user TammyTwoSwanson)

Carve up those climbs and make mincemeat out of miles in these incredibly lightweight but strong walking boots.

Although they feel like a trainer, comfort-wise, they offer the security of a boot, with features such as a moulded sock liner and good ankle support.

They’re fully waterproof and a Continental rubber sole with 5mm lugs gives you great traction on muddy, slippery and wet surfaces, meaning you can take them anywhere, on any terrain and feel supremely confident and comfortable doing so.

We also like that this boot is made from 50% recycled materials. Wearers say that they run a little small, however, so make sure to size up.

Pros

  • Superior grip on all surfaces
  • Lightweight
  • No need to break in

Cons

  • Those with wider feet may find them too tight

Key specs

  • Size range: 3½ to 10
  • Waterproofing: GORE-TEX membrane
  • Upper material: Mesh and synthetic materials
  • Outsole: Continental™ rubber outsole
  • Weight per boot: Approximately 400g

2. Best budget walking boots: Northwest Territory Peak Hiking Boot

Northwest Territory Peak Women's Hiking Boot

Price: From £49.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“Didn’t have high hopes for them but they fit my wide feet well and I climbed three Munros in one day wearing them less than a week after they arrived.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user Threehundredmiles)

With thousands of positive reviews on Amazon, you can’t go wrong with these leather boots from Northwest Territory. In fact, they’re a repeat purchase for many satisfied customers, who praise their comfort and waterproof capabilities. They’re nice and roomy in the toe box too.

Although some wearers found them comfortable from the off, others found them a little stiff at first, so you may need to factor some breaking-in time.

Despite many reviews praising them, a few people did report that the eyelets broke. With so many units sold, this only appears to be the case for a few unlucky people, but perhaps you may need to take care when lacing.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Good for wide feet
  • Great waterproofing for the price
  • Available in a range of colours and nubuck finishes

Cons

  • May need to factor breaking-in time
  • You may need to take care with the lace loops

Key specs

  • Size range: 4 to 8
  • Waterproofing: Hydry membrane lining
  • Upper material: Leather 
  • Outsole: Rubber tread sole
  • Weight per boot: Not specified

3. Best versatile women’s walking boot: QUECHUA MH500 Mid

Quecha MH500 Mid Women's Hiking Boot

Price: £69.99 | Buy now from Decathlon

“They are the single most comfortable thing I have ever worn on my feet and are doing a very good job of appearing to be indestructible.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user BillywigSting)

A no-frills name for a no-frills boot, these Quechua boots from Decathlon are a solid all-rounder for a very competitive price.

Decathlon tests their boots’ waterproofing and sole grip both in the laboratory and out in the real world. These boots feature highly non-slip rubber outsoles with 5mm gripping studs, offering great grip on any surface, wet or dry, be it smooth rock or rugged terrain. Rubber stone guards give added impact protection and avoid stubbed toes. Reviewers found these boots comfortable from the off and said that although they were lightweight, they felt really durable, with a good grip on rocks, scree and slippery slopes. 

Using a specific EVOFIT concept, which uses stretch materials and specific design, these boots adapt to the shape of your foot to offer a personalised fit and excellent comfort. There were a couple of grumbles about waterproofing. But Decathlon does recommend wearing waterproof gaiters and reproofing your boots twice a year.

If you’re looking for a comfortable, lightweight boot that offers you great support over a variety of terrains we think these boots are a good bet.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Good grip
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Waterproof capabilities might not be up to scratch

Key specs

  • Size range: 3 to 8
  • Waterproofing: Waterproof and breathable membrane lining
  • Upper material: 34.1% Polyamide, 33.2% leather
  • Outsole: 50% ethylene vinyl acetate, 50% rubber 
  • Weight per boot: 379g

4. Best summer walking boots for women: Merrell Women’s Bravada Mid Waterproof

Merrell Women’s Bravada Mid Waterproof Walking Boot

Price: From £49.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“Merrells, comfortable from the off and waterproof. I can wear them for everything.”  (Brand recommended by Mumsnet user Faevern)

Merrells are a big favourite among the Mumsnet community for their out-of-the-box comfort, good waterproof reliability and lightweight feel. 

These vegan-friendly boots feature a breathable waterproof membrane, perfect for wet walks or hotter temperatures, meaning that whatever the elements, your feet will stay cool and with their sneaker-boot aesthetic, they look pretty cool too.

They fit like a trainer and are packed with features to up the comfort factor, such as an ankle collar, removable contoured insole and an EVA foam midsole.

But that’s where the associations with trainers end, because it’s got excellent ankle and arch support and has Merrell’s mountain-grade Quantum Grip™ rubber outsole, with 5mm lugs, giving you stability and confidence over the toughest terrains. However, for wet rock or ice, they may not give you the grip you need.

Pros

  • Vegan friendly 
  • Stylish
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not suitable for icy ground or wet rock

Key specs

  • Size range: 3.5 to 8.5
  • Waterproofing: M Select™ DRY BARRIER and waterproof mesh upper
  • Upper material: Vegan-friendly mesh upper
  • Outsole: Quantum Grip™ rubber outsole
  • Weight per boot: 342g

5. Best women’s walking boots for wide feet: Keen Pyrenees

Keen Pyrenees Women's Walking Boot

Price: £144.99 | Buy now from KEEN

“If you have wide toes and want a classic brown walking boot, I’m loving Keen’s Pyrenees.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Postdatedpandemic)

KEEN boots are a Mumsnet users’ favourite, thanks to their durability and comfort. The Pyrenees is also one of the brand’s bestsellers. With a nice wide toe box, they’re perfect for those with less-than-dainty feet, but still hug the heel to provide a secure fit. There’s good ankle support and they feel sturdy enough to tackle most types of terrain. The rubber sole isn’t Vibram, however, so it may wear out quicker than boots with Vibram soles. And some reviewers felt that the traction wasn’t as good on slippery surfaces. 

One thing that wearers love is the boots’ comfort. They feature a metatomical footbed design which KEEN claim is engineered to provide arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot. And although they’re leather, there appears to be a little-to-no breaking in period, although some reviewers complained the tongue rubbed at first.

Billed as a classic boot for a classic trail, this is a good all-rounder. At 500g, they’re on the heavier end of the spectrum, so this might not be a shoe to take on your longer walks, although reviewers didn’t mention weight being an issue. 

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Roomy toe box, but still a structured fit on the rest of the foot
  • Little-to-no breaking in period

Cons

  • One of the heavier boots in our line-up
  • Breathability may be sacrificed due to the superior waterproofing
  • No Vibram sole 

Key specs

  • Size range: 2.5 to 8.5
  • Waterproofing: KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane
  • Upper material: Nubuck leather
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Weight per boot: 500g

6. Best women’s leather walking boots: Grisport Lady Hurricane

Grisport Lady Hurricane Women's Walking Boot

Price: £90 | Buy now from Tog24

“Swear by Grisport Lady Hurricane. Have tried loads of other brands. These boots are all I have bought for years. Have a six-year-old pair that have done 100s miles and are still waterproof. Comfortable out of the box. Blissful boots.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user HeronLanyon)

Grisport’s Lady Hurricane are another Mumsnet users’ favourite and are the Italian brand’s most popular boot, err, to boot. Sturdy, yet comfortable and relatively lightweight, wearers love the soft leather which is easy to break in.

These boots are fully waterproof and have taped seams inside the boot to provide better insulation than traditional open linings.

Grisport claim comfort from the box and with a padded collar, dual-density cushioned midsole and ergonomic shape which adapts to any type of foot, real-life wearers tend to agree.

However, with their classic design, they’re not going to win any style awards, and some people may find them a bit too chunky.

Pros

  • Soft leather which is easy to break in
  • Very comfortable
  • Reliably waterproof
  • Lightweight for a leather boot

Cons

  • Some people may find them ungainly or too chunky

Key specs

  • Size range: 3 to 9
  • Waterproofing: Spo-Tex® waterproof / breathable lining
  • Upper material: Waxed leather
  • Outsole: Vibram rubber sole
  • Weight per boot: 445g (average)

7. Best waterproof women’s walking boots: Scarpa Terra GTX

Scarpa Terra II GTX Women's Walking Boot

Price: From £147.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I do love them, and they are extremely comfortable and very light. They are also comfortable immediately, needed no wearing in and have never given me blisters despite walking up to 25 miles a day in them. And they’re completely waterproof and have never leaked.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user justawoman)

Something of an institution in the walking boot world, Scarpa Terra can help you take on the wettest, most ungodly terrain.

Recommended time and time again on the Mumsnet talk boards, this boot is loved for its comfort, solid waterproof capabilities and durability. Look after them right and they will look after you for years. Feet feel wonderfully protected and you can pound up all types of hard scree and rocks without even feeling it. And despite all that, they’re still really comfortable (“as comfy as slippers,” says one Mumsnet user).

Made from a soft Italian nubuck leather, you may find that you won’t need to wear them in. They've also been updated with Vibram Energy II soles, which are even more durable, as well as a new midsole for increased support and a progressive flex. They’ve also increased the space around the toes.

They’re not very flexible, so they’re more suited to paths and trails than rocky climbs, and at 500g per boot, that weight may start to take its toll on longer walks, although no reviewers said they found them too heavy.

Pros

  • Unstoppably waterproof
  • Durable
  • Feet feel comfortable and supported
  • Little-to-no breaking in period required

Cons

  • Fairly heavy and inflexible

Key specs

  • Size range: 3½ to 8
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex membrane
  • Upper material: Nubuck leather
  • Outsole: Vibram Energy 2 sole
  • Weight per boot: 500g

8. Best lightweight ladies' walking boots: Cloudrock Waterproof

Cloudrock Waterproof Walking Boots

Price: £180 | Buy now from On Running

“Love these Cloudrocks. Lightweight, comfortable and waterproof.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user cardoon)

With the comfort and bounce of a trainer, but the support and performance of a boot, the Cloudrock is great for walkers who like to get their speed on.

It’s technology-packed, with the Cloudtec outsole which provides spring and softens your step and the Speedboad sole liner for stability and propulsion.

The Missiongrip™ rubber on the outsole gives good traction on any terrain - even snow and ice - while the lugs make light work of softer surfaces. The high collar and tongue are both padded for support, but flex with your movement. There’s a cushioned midsole for added comfort and a rubber toe box to protect your feet.

There’s some nice additional touches too, such as the lacing system which lets you lace your boots traditionally, or just with one pull.

They feature a windproof and waterproof durable membrane, and judging by the reviews, they’re one of the few boots that actually live up to their claims to be truly waterproof. 

Pros

  • The ideal blend of comfort and performance
  • Super lightweight
  • No breaking-in period
  • Good for those with plantar fasciitis 

Cons

  • On the more expensive side
  • Uninspiring colourways

Key specs

  • Size range: 3 to 9
  • Waterproofing: Waterproof membrane
  • Upper material: Nylon
  • Outsole: Missiongrip™ rubber
  • Weight per boot: 380g

9. Best soft walking boots for ladies: Vivobarefoot Tracker II FG

Vivobarefoot Tracker II FG Walking Boots

Price: £150 | Buy now from Vivobarefoot

“I have the Vivo boots and they are fab! I was worried about the thin soles too but they’re fine. I find being able to feel the ground a little more actually helpful for balance. I went up Cadair Idris the back way in very soggy conditions last summer and my feet were the happiest part of me.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user MrsFrumble)

Looking for a change of direction with your walking boots? Why not join the barefoot movement? Stripped of padding, the thin, flexible soles allow you to feel more and encourage natural walking. Barefoot enthusiasts claim numerous health benefits including more ‘skilled’ movement, increased foot strength, balance and stability.

Vivobarefoot are one of the biggest names in the barefoot movement and despite the thin soles on these boots, they are hard-wearing and waterproof. If you find normal walking boots too rigid, you’ll love the flexibility these shoes offer. This doesn’t mean you’ll lose out on traction, however. The Firm Ground Sole, with its sticky rubber compound helps you stay secure on most terrains, although expert reviews suggest that there isn’t enough grip for muddy conditions.

These boots are suitable for all seasons, thanks to the removable thermal insole and there’s sturdy toe box and padded ankle cuff for support. And at 330g, it’s one of the lightest walking boots out there. There’s some nice eco credentials too. When your shoes are done, Vivo has a reconditioning and recycling arm to cut down on shoes sent to landfill. 

They’re an investment purchase, but if you’re curious about the barefoot movement, Vivo offer a free Barefoot Fundamentals Course with your purchase and a 100-day trial with a no-quibble refund policy.

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight and comfortable
  • Let you feel and respond to the ground
  • Removable thermal insole makes it practical for all seasons

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Won’t suit everyone

Key specs

  • Size range: 3 to 9
  • Waterproofing: Recycled waterproof plastic lining and recycled membrane
  • Upper material: Wildhide leather
  • Outsole: Rubber Firm Ground sole
  • Weight per boot: 330g

10. Best walking boots for comfort: Mountain Warehouse Hike Women’s Waterproof Recycled Boots

Mountain Warehouse Hike Women's Waterproof Recycled Walking Boots

Price: £59.99 | Buy now from Amazon

With a nice wide toe box, but still providing a snug fit, these boots are widely praised by real-life wearers as very, very comfortable. This could be thanks to the EVA cushioning which moulds to your foot and a supportive ankle cuff which, although high, is padded so it doesn’t feel uncomfortable.

And with added heel and toe bumpers and deep lugs for grip and stability, these boots perform well across a variety of terrains, making them just as good for your regular dog walks as well as more challenging hikes. 

Wearers said that although they feel sturdy, they’re lightweight and fit extremely well. Some reviewers found them a bit too chunky, but not everyone, so that might be a matter of personal preference.

Pros

  • Made from recycled materials
  • Good grip

Cons

  • May need breaking in
  • May find them too chunky

Key specs

  • Size range: 4 to 8
  • Waterproofing: Water resistant upper and waterproof membrane
  • Upper material: ripstop mesh and polyurethane
  • Outsole: 100% synthetic
  • Weight per boot: Not available

What should I consider when buying ladies’ hiking boots?

Fabric

Generally speaking, leather boots are the most waterproof and durable, so are a good choice if you’re a regular walker and will be tackling wet walks and rugged terrain. Leather is also naturally breathable. The payoff however, is that they’re likely to be heavier and more rigid, something you may feel over long distances.

Synthetic fabric boots, on the other hand, tend to be lighter and more reactive, and as such they’re probably better for long distances. They’re also more breathable (letting out moisture helps prevent blisters). They do tend to have a shorter lifespan and you’ll need to look after them well to prolong it. Synthetic boots are also more difficult to clean.

Waterproof v non-waterproof

Waterproof linings do compromise breathability to some extent, so if you're a fair-weather walker or want a second pair of boots for summer walking, you might not consider waterproofing a priority.

Flexibility and cut

To protect your ankle from sprains, you’ll need boots that neither feel too rigid nor too loose. Mid-cut boots protect your ankles and are ideal for shorter walks. If you’re tackling hills or tougher terrains, you’ll want a higher-cut boot to give your feet and ankles more support, but bear in mind it doesn’t offer the same flexibility as a mid-cut. If you’re planning on lowland walking, then you can go for a more flexible mid-cut boot. 

Weight

Leather boots tend to be heavier, but you’re getting more durability for that too. They can give you more stability on more rugged terrain, but on longer walks, you can find that they zap your energy, so you may want to consider a synthetic boot for these times. 

Price

If you’re not a regular walker, or you’re just looking for the best boots for dog walking, you won’t need to spend as much and features such as waterproofing perhaps won’t be as important. However if you’re looking for a pair to really go the distance or tackle tougher terrain, you’ll need to invest a little more for a more durable pair. But bear in mind, the more you wear them, the more the price-per-wear comes down.

What makes a good walking boot?

Let’s face it, walking in the UK comes with a high probability of rain. Nothing can ruin a walk like a damp foot, so a waterproof boot will probably be high on your list of priorities. You should also consider breathability, so your feet don’t overheat on long walks. Gore-Tex is a waterproof, breathable lining that keeps your feet dry while allowing air to pass through and sweat vapour to escape. 

The outsole of a boot is the strip of rubber that lines the bottom of the shoe. You’ll be looking for a touch of flexibility, while offering stability and grip. Vibram soles are the benchmark of this. They are rubber soles with optimally designed tread patterns that offer extra grip and stability, good impact absorption and are extremely durable and comfortable. 

Finally, comfort is obviously very important. Whether you’re racking up miles or doing regular short walks, you’ll want a boot that feels good to wear. Insoles can help to provide better support or comfort, so if comfort is starting to wane, that might be something to consider.

How long will boots take to break in?

Breaking boots in enables them to mould them to the shape of your foot. As a rule of thumb, leather boots will need some breaking in, but that’s not to say that all boots do. New flexible materials such as memory foam on the ankles mean there’s less breaking in to do, but it’s still wise not to embark on a significant walk before wearing them around the house for some time. 

You can break boots in by wearing them around the house for a few hours at time. Make sure you wear thick walking socks. Over the days they should start to loosen up and feel more comfortable. If they haven’t, and they’re pinching your toes or rubbing your heel, then they may not be right for you. 

If they feel ok, take them out on some short walks outside, and then up some hills. How long they take to break in will vary, but the agreed consensus among boot manufacturers and expert blogs is between one and four weeks.

If you’re buying boots for a particular trip, make sure you get them in plenty of time to allow you to wear them around the house to get a good feel of them and return if necessary. The last thing you want to feel is the pang of a rapidly forming blister when you’re halfway through a big walk.

How should I look after my new boots?

To prolong your boots’ lifespan, you should clean them after each walk. Mud and dirt can negatively impact the material of your boot, by drying it out or wearing fabric down. 

Remove any loose dirt first with a stiff brush and then clean with warm water and a cloth. Leave them to dry naturally. If they’re particularly wet inside, you can stuff them with newspaper to draw out excess moisture. 

If your boots are waterproof, you’ll also need to reproof your boots from time to time. Here’s how to do it according to the type of boots you have:

Leather boots: Rub a small amount of a dubbin wax into clean, dry boots, Leave to dry and then buff with a soft cloth. Periodically, you should also condition your boots with leather cream to stop them cracking and drying out.

Suede and nubuck: As these aren’t a smooth texture, you’ll need to use a waterproofer appropriate for your shoes. Spray or apply onto the boots and stitching, ensuring they are evenly coated. Allow to dry and then use a suede brush to brush them up.

Fabric boots: Can be reproofed wet or dry. Use an appropriate fabric waterproofing spray or proofer to apply to the entirety of the shoe and allow to dry before wearing again.

How should walking boots fit?

Try walking boots on towards the end of the day when your feet will be at their biggest. And wear walking socks. You’ll need room for your toes to spread, so stretch them out and make sure they’re not touching the front of the boots.

Walk up and down an incline to check that your heel doesn’t move out of the cup on the ascent and your toes don’t bump against the front on the descent. Feel whether the boot has any cushioning to support your foot and check the flexibility of the upper meets your needs.

What are the best walking boots?

All-weather and all-terrain, lightweight and comfortable, we’ve picked the Adidas Terrex AX4 Mid Gore-Tex boots as our best overall. 

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