Whether you’re searching for a walking boots for weekend walks, easy rambles or more challenging multi-day hikes, our team of walking experts have put a selection of the best boots available to the test.


For lighter summer options, head across to our list of the best walking shoes could have just what you're looking for, and for non-leather options see our vegan hiking boots review.

Looking for a great deal? Take advantage of our Black Friday walking boots guide.

The best walking boots in 2023, as rated by BBC Countryfile Magazine's expert test team

Haglöf Duality AT1 GT hiking boots

Best boots on test

A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Our verdict: Super stylish boots with interchangeable midsoles that offer versatility and performance

The Duality’s contemporary looks belie their performance level. An apparently thin outsole features grippy lugs. The boots come with a double set of removable midsoles – one that supplies extra support on hard and rocky trails, especially when carrying a backpack, and another and lighter pair for more casual outings, when you want a relaxed fit. Other features include a high-quality leather upper with an integrated Gore-Tex membrane. Made from responsibly-sourced materials, the Duality is expensive, but offers the functionality of two pairs of boots, and the midsoles can be replaced without buying new shoes. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: £240
  • Uppers: Leather approved by Leather Working Group
  • Outsole: Includes AHAR Plus (ASICS High Abrasion Resistance Rubber) on the outsole heel for durability
  • Midsole: Two removable options, one with extra cushioning
  • Waterproofing: GORE-TEX Extended Comfort
  • Fitting: Standard
  • Weight: 394 g per boot (UK size 8)

Hi-Tec V-Lite Psych Mid WP hiking boots

Best Budget Boots

Best Environmentally friendly boots

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Our verdict: Lean, green walking machines, magically made with recycled plastic bottles

The innovative element of the new hiking hooves from Hi-Tec lies in their impressive backstory. The uppers of these vegan-friendly boots is 67% manufactured from 100% responsibly sourced and entirely recycled polyester – basically, they’re made mostly from discarded single-use 380ml plastic bottles. The problem with most recycled poly products is that they release microplastics into waterways when laundered, but no one machine washes waking boots, so this is excellent use of a completely sustainable material.

Beyond the environmentally positive element, these boots are also decent trail performers, featuring a Dri-Tec waterproof and breathable membrane, a substantial toecap for protection and durability, a heel cap enhancing fit and stability, compression-molded EVA midsoles that supply good cushioning, and a V-Lite Rubber outsole that delivers good grip and control without adding too much weight (each boot weighs 585g). One minor niggle is that there are no quickhooks on the lacing system, so it takes a little longer to put them on.

Hi-Tec have never been the most head-turning brand on the trails, but these are genuinely great, green boots, available for a very reasonable price, and they’re highly recommended for DofE expeditions. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: £100
  • Uppers: Includes vegan-friendly textile made from responsibly sourced, recycled polyester
  • Outsole: Lightweight V-Lite Rubber
  • Midsole: Lightweight compression-moulded EVA
  • Waterproofing: Dri-Tec breathable membrane
  • Fitting: Standard
  • Weight: -

Inov-8 Rocfly G390 hiking boots

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Our verdict: Go-faster, featherlight, fell-walking boots for daywalkers and trail trekkers in a hurry

Cumbrian brand Inov-8 have recently started making hiking footwear using the award-winning megatough ‘Graphene Grip’ rubber outsoles that define their running shoes. The Rocfly G390 is their latest boot, and the first to use next-generation G-Fly Graphene foam in the soles, which the brand say delivers 25% more energy return. It’s difficult to quantify such claims on muddy trails, but these boots are certainly made for walkers who want to travel fast. Everything is aimed at staying nimble, from the lightweight materials (each boot weighs just 390g), rocker-shaped sole and 6mm heel-to-toe drop, through to the single quickhook lace system, getting you on the trail with zero faff. The outsoles feature the new ‘Adapter-Flex’, a 10mm-deep trench between heel and forefoot, which allows for enhanced cross-foot movement and more trail feel on uneven terrain. The synthetic upper is breathable and quick drying, rather than waterproof, and the toe bumper is minimalist.

More like this

The soles will almost certainly outlive the uppers, and with agility prioritised over protectiveness, the Rocflys feel more like a running shoe with a mid-height collar than a hiking boot. They do supply good cushioning (a bonus on longer adventures) and some ankle support, but are best suited for long daywalks and luggage-light multiday hut-to-hut adventures. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: £175
  • Uppers: Breathable synthetic
  • Outsole: ‘Graphene-enhanced’ rubber, 4mm lugs
  • Midsole: G-FLY
  • Waterproofing: No
  • Fitting: Standard
  • Weight: 390 g per boot

Hoka TenNine Hike boots

A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.

Our verdict: Huge hoofs for a smooth hiking experience across any kind of terrain

Normally we’d prioritise functionality and features over style for hiking footwear, but with Hoka’s TenNine boots you have to start with the aesthetics, which will either excite, alarm or amuse. At the extreme end of the maximist spectrum, the TenNine have more sole than Sam and Dave combined. Hoka describe them as ‘part hiking boot, part hovercraft’, which paints a pretty accurate picture of how they both look and feel. For all their bulk, the TenNines only weigh 504g each and have a 4mm drop, but walking in them really does take some getting used to (and not just because of bemused stares from other amblers).

Unsurprisingly, the cushioning is unsurpassed, but there’s absolutely zero trail feel. The rocker-style ‘Hubble’ heel, which protrudes out the back in a reverse cloven hoof shape, is intended to facilitate optimum heel-to-toe energy transition and supply a super smooth ride. And, once you become accustomed to both the bounce and being considerably taller than normal, hiking in these Hokas is a comfortable experience. Beneath all the cushioning in the compression-molded EVA foam midsole hides a Vibram megagrip hi-traction outsole with 5mm lugs. The Ripstop textile upper encases a Gore-Tex bootie, supplying breathable waterproof protection, and the lace system – with three pairs of quickhooks – enables a secure fit. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: £220
  • Uppers: Ripstop textile
  • Outsole: Vibram Megagrip hi-traction with 5mm lugs
  • Midsole: Compression-molded EVA foam
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex bootie
  • Fitting: Standard
  • Weight: 504 g each

Scarpa Rush TRK GTX hiking boots

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Our verdict: Technically highly capable, but lightweight and comfortable

Scarpa are a mountain-savvy brand with their head in the clouds in all the right ways. With the Rush Trek, they have produced a mid-height hoof that makes long hikes every bit as comfortable as short strolls, without reducing the technical capability of the boot to take on tougher terrain. To do this they’ve used lightweight materials and employed technologies to reduce foot fatigue. The impressive Presa outsole has aggressive grippy hiking-oriented lugs, angled to allow good control during descents. The sole also boasts ‘Interactive Kinetic System’ technology, with five shock-absorbing areas and domes designed to support the weight of the wearer during mountain missions.

The boot retains reliable rigidity across its length, making it excellent for edging around rocks. The toe protection is also reassuringly robust, and despite its light weight (555g), this is definitely a peak performer. The upper feels durable too, made with a mix of abrasion-resistant materials including 1.6–1.8 mm leather, and lined with a Gore-Tex membrane to make them waterproof and breathable. Three speedhooks at the top of the lacing system facilitate a really secure fit around the ankle, with the collar offering plenty of support. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: £185
  • Uppers: 1.6mm–1.8 mm suede and fabric
  • Outsole: Presa
  • Midsole: 3D compression-molded EVA foam
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex membrane
  • Fitting: Standard
  • Weight: 555 g per boot

Keen NXIS Evo mid hiking boot

A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Our verdict: Stability, protection and performance in a new, lighter and lovely looking package with a low impact footprint

New from Keen’s NXIS range, the Evo Mid is a lightweight walking boot (418 g), marrying many of the hike-ready design attributes of their top-performing Targhee trekker with lighter, more modern materials and fleet-footed features of trail running shoes. The boot is free of harmful PFC chemicals, boasts an eco-friendly anti-odour system, and Keen have used recycled PET plastic in the mesh-style upper, reinforced with TPU overlays and underpinned by a KEEN.DRY membrane which is waterproof and breathable.

The big toe protection Keen footwear is famous for is still featured, but in a less bulky fashion, with a lighter split-toe design. The KonnectFit interlocking heel-capture system facilitates a good solid connection across the entire foot, so there’s no sliding around within the boot while you’re walking. They’re instantly comfortable, with extra padding around the Achilles, arch support in the insoles and plenty of cushioning in the compression-molded EVA midsole. The outsole boasts a new horseshoe pattern with deep multidirectional lugs and troughs to enhance flexibility and trail feel. They are very bendy, which leans more towards the trail-running side of the design and will suit those who want to travel fast more than those who want to take on really technical terrain. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: £145
  • Uppers: Mesh made of recycled PET plastic
  • Outsole: KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN rubber with 4mm lugs
  • Midsole: compression-molded EVA
  • Waterproofing: KEEN.DRY membrane
  • Fitting: Regular to slightly wide
  • Weight: 418 g per boot

Hanwag Alta Bunion II GTX hiking boot

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Our verdict: A bunion-busting boot with exceptional qualities to make it an all-round performer

Whether you’re doing a five-mile stroll or a multiday long-distance footpath, comfort is king when it comes to hiking footwear, and as anyone who has suffered from hallus valgus (better known to its enemies as bunions) appreciates, pressure and hotspots around the big toe, ball of the foot and metatarsus area can be excruciating.

Step in Bavarian boot brand Hanwag, who have heroically developed an entire range of footwear for walkers with bunions, without simply making wider products. By allowing extra space specifically in the places affected by bunions, plus providing more height in the toe box and removing seams in the afflicted area, the new Alta Bunion IIs eradicate rubbing and pressure from where it’s most painful, while maintaining a snug fit elsewhere. Walking in these boots is a revelation after cramming your foot into all-too-often narrow fitting boots. Weighing 645g, the Altas are made with premium nubeck leather and feature a Vibram Endurance outsole with deep innovative multishaped lugs. The lace system has an off-set lower locking hook just above the eyelets, which pulls the heel in nice and tight, providing great stability and confidence, and they are reliably waterproof and breathable. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: 230 euros
  • Uppers: Chromium-free Nubuck leather
  • Outsole: Vibram Endurance
  • Midsole: Stabilised PU
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex membrane
  • Fitting: Wide fitting specially designed for bunions
  • Weight: 645 g per boot (size 8)

The Original Muck Boot Company Apex Lace-up boot

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

Our verdict: Rugged and reliably waterproof rubber boots, built for a range of outdoor activities

Best known for fabulous wellie-style footwear, Muck Boot have recently diversified, as evidenced by these ‘sport’ boots for walkers and field sport enthusiasts. The Apex are 100% waterproof, and the collar (described as ‘short’ by the brand, in relation to their range of knee-length wellies) is relatively high for a hiking boot, offering comprehensive protection during wet walks.

Given the low insulating properties of the main material, the 4mm neoprene lining, which extends across the integrated tongue, comes as a relief. The boots lace up nice and tight, with a couple of speed hooks at the top pulling the collar in tight, but the cuff is thin and highly flexible, so there’s little actual ankle support on offer. There is a substantial heel cup and a toecap, to protect your pinkies, but the skin across the forefoot is thin. These boots boast an EVA midsole, which provides decent shock absorption, and the substantial rubber outsoles have deep traction-giving lugs.

Overall, these interesting boots are great for short walks with multiple stream, river and/or estuary crossings, and ideal for people working in wet conditions, but weigh 860g each, and lack the thickness, thermal and supportive qualities required for longer hikes. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: £170
  • Uppers: Rubber with 4mm neoprene lining
  • Outsole: ‘designed for light duty use on mixed terrain’
  • Midsole: EVA
  • Waterproofing: 100% waterproof uppers
  • Fitting: Standard
  • Weight: 860 g each

Lowa Taurus Pro GTX Mid hiking boot

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Our verdict: Lightweight walking boot with great cushioning, suitable for all sorts of strolls across a range of terrain in almost any conditions

A lightweight (410g), mid-height hiking boot designed for everything from multi-day hikes with a lightish backpack, to three-season day-walking. Lowa’s new Lima sole provides loads of bounce thanks to its DynaPU technology. The upper is a stylish and durable mix of suede and synthetic fabric, with a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex membrane. The outsole has deep lugs, which provide good grip but do accumulate mud. With good rigidity across the shank, the Taurus performs better on technical rocky terrain than than many other lightweight boots. This is a really decent, attractively priced, versatile boot for walkers who mix up their excursions throughout the year. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: £135
  • Uppers: Suede and fabric
  • Outsole: Lima with DynaPU technology
  • Midsole: DynaPU
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex lining
  • Fitting: Standard
  • Weight: 410 g each

Aku Trekker Lite III GTX hiking boot

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Our verdict: Lightweight boots, perfect for walking in a range of conditions and across all sorts of terrain

As the name suggests, this boot is the third iteration of Aku’s top-performing Trekker Lite. The look and design continues to evolve with each generation, but the family resemblance remains strong. The base design is reliable and robust, very fit for purpose on British and European trails and peaks outside of deepest winter, so no need to reinvent it. This new boot is lighter (570g per boot) and more nimble than its forbears, with more of the tough Air8000 fabric used in the material mix of the upper, and a little less suede. The latter still covers the rand, which goes right around the boot, rising to provide extra protection to the toe and heel areas.

In line with its intended level of versatility, the boot has medium rigidity across its shank. The midsole is made from double-density EVA and the Trekker III has a new Vibram Curcuma outsole, with deep multidirectional lugs, which supplies excellent grip, but can also collect a bit of mud. The heel is sumptuously padded and, along with the tongue, rises relatively high for a mid-height product, which combined with the Gore-Tex membrane adds to the boots’ ability to keep the elements out. Overall, this is a great boot for day hikes and backpacking trips across three seasons. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: £170
  • Uppers: Suede and Air8000 fabric
  • Outsole: Vibram Curcuma
  • Midsole: double-density EVA
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex membrane
  • Fitting: Standard; wide fitting available
  • Weight: 570 g per boot

Roclite Pro G400 GTX boots, inov-8

A star rating of 5 out of 5.

OUR VERDICT: This beautifully balanced blend of light weight and tough materials delivers a perfect walking experience – comfortable, grippy and responsive.

This outstanding new boot feature soles that are 50% stronger and more hardwearing than any other on the market, according to its maker, Cumbria-based inov-8, better known for its trail-running shoes.

The soles contain graphene – making inov-8 the only walking boot company to use this wonder-material. Graphene is one of the hardest substances in the world, first isolated by scientists at the University of Manchester – research that won them the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010.

But that’s not all. They are a pleasure to wear – straight from the box. You'll notice immediately that they are strikingly lightweight at 400g. The simple lacing system (below) makes them quick and easy to put on and take off.

Once on the move, the stiff soles provide stability but there’s enough spring to make movement pleasantly fluid. Cushioning is well judged – comfortable over hard and rocky ground, but responsive enough, so they don't feel remotely sluggish. That graphene/rubber outsole is grippy, with 6mm lugs giving confidence even over wet rock.

Ankle support is good too, and your heel sits securely in the heel cage.

The toe box is roomy – the fit is slightly on the wide side on my regular-width feet, but that's no bad thing, as it allows space for thick socks in winter, and room for feet to spread a little once warmed up.

Tough synthetic uppers look durable – time will tell. A very effective Gore-Tex waterproof lining keeps your feet dry. As the cushioned lining on the uppers is fairly thin, it will be interesting to see if the boots feel warm enough on a cold, wet day (look out for my update later this winter).

A rubber bumper protects your toe. If you like rugged hill walks, you may want more protection at the sides, but I’d be very happy to wear these on high hill walks. JP

Facts at a glance:

  • UPPERS: Schoeller ceramic-coated
  • OUTSOLE: Graphene-Grip rubber with 6mm lugs
  • WATERPROOFING: Gore-Tex lining
  • FITTING: Regular to wide
  • WEIGHT: 400g

Altberg Fremington

A star rating of 5 out of 5.

OUR VERDICT: Hardy, watertight and surprisingly comfortable. Will cope well with even tough hill walks all year round.

Altberg's Fremington boot

The classic Fremington leather boot from Yorkshire firm Altberg looks as tough as nails, but feels gentle on your feet

Altberg’s best-selling walking boot has remained virtually unchanged since the bootmaker’s conception in 1989.

As with most traditional boots, the Fremington is extremely durable and its high-quality leather uppers and breathable membrane make it completely watertight.

The hard-wearing Vibram sole has good tread and rigidity, making it ideal for walking in Britain’s hills.

Boots with a rigid construction and full leather uppers like this have a reputation for taking time to wear in, but after slight stiffness in the first couple of walks, I was surprised by the overriding feeling of comfort. I’ve taken them on many walks, long and short, and the fit feels feel cosier and more pleasant with each outing.

The padded ankle cuff reduces rubbing and Altberg’s five width fittings offer extra wiggle room, should you need it. The Fremington is sold as a “lightweight 2-3 season leather walking boot”, but I would recommend it for British winters, too.

Another big bonus: the boot available in a range of widths to suit narrow or wide feet. DG

Facts at a glance:

  • Uppers: Full-grain Anfibio leather
  • Outsole: Vibram – hard-wearing and replaceable (Alberg will re-sole)
  • Waterproofing: Sympatex lining
  • Fitting: Five options available, from extra wide to extra narrow.
  • Weight (pair): 1.3kg
  • Eco: Resoleable; and Altberg offer repairs. 

Vivobarefoot Tracker FG

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

OUR VERDICT: Innovative, flexible, light and comfortable.

Tracker FG boots

British shoemaker Vivobarefoot believes that footwear should “let your feet do their thing”. With this thought in mind, its shoes are made to harness all the benefits of walking barefoot – flexibility, stability and, ultimately, an improved posture – with all the usual protection that a boot brings. Its lightweight hiking boot, the Tracker FG, is a prime example of this, blending attractive style with extreme comfort and an overwhelming feeling of freedom.

Tracker FG
Thin and highly flexible soles make for an entirely different walking experience than conventional rigid-sole boots

Unlike most boots, the Tracker has a thin and completely flat, puncture-resistant sole. If you haven’t worn Vivobarefoot shoes before, the lack of drop from heel to toe will take a few minutes to get used to – but this slight unease soon turns to an overall sense of liberation. It’s as though your feet are feeling their way across the ground, rather than treading on it.

Fan-shaped with lots of room in the toe box, your toes are able to spread out, which in turn improves stability and helps strengthen muscles in the foot. They are extremely light (476.2g per boot) and breathable, which allows you to move quickly through hills, forests and mountains, and their flexibility means you can even run in them. (note: the sensory perception provided by the thin sole aids this quick movement but may prove an issue if carrying a heavy pack over long distances).

The outsole is firm, and the quality leather upper (with a fully waterproof membrane), mid-cut ankle and high lacing deliver a good level of support on uneven trails. The multi-directional lugs are designed for firm ground, making them ideal for dry-weather walks; I found them to lack a bit of grip on particularly wet and muddy paths.

Available in dark brown for women and men. DG

Facts at a glance:

  • Uppers: Leather
  • Outsole: Firm Ground sticky rubber with 3mm lugs
  • Waterproofing: Hydroguard waterproof and breathable membrane
  • Fit: Regular to wide 
  • Weight: 952.4g (pair)
  • Eco: Vivobarefoot say they are aiming to use 90% sustainable material across the brand this year. The Trackers themselves are made with a recycled PET lining and a recycled membrane.

Keen Targhee iii Mid WP

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

OUR VERDICT: Highly comfortable and affordable, but doubts over durability and waterproofing.

Targhee boot

The Targhee iii offers a soft ride, but your feet may get damp in rain.

I wore these straight from the box on a two-week summer walk in the Swiss Alps. They were extremely comfortable and, in spite of the challenging landscape, the KEEN All-Terrain rubber outsole offered a good level of grip on wet paths, scree slopes and grassy hills.

Keen footwear has a reputation for comfort and the Targhee iii is no exception. Fortunately for walkers with broad feet, the Targhee iii is available in two widths: standard and wide. The Metatomical Footbed is designed to provide strong arch support and the dual-density EVA insoles soften the impact of the trail. The Targhee iii is pleasantly lightweight, too, at 1kg the pair (size 11).

The Keen. Dry breathable membrane means vapour can leave the boot and air can move freely between the material – very welcome in hot weather.

The boot’s waterproofing and durability were less impressive. During periods of wet weather, small amounts of water seeping in through the lacing area on the top of the foot, and after two weeks of hard walking, the boots had begun to show signs of wear and tear, most notably around the toe-bend.

The Targhee iii is a great boot for fair-weather walking in the UK, excelling in comfort. It comes at a relatively affordable price and can be worn on long walks straight from the box. But for winter walking and rough or wet terrain, a tougher boot might be preferable, particularly if you want your boots to last. DG

Facts at a glance:

  • Uppers: Leather and mesh
  • Outsole: Keen All-Terrain rubber, with 4mm lugs.
  • Waterproofing: Keen.Dry breathable membrane; leather is treated with PFC-free water repellent
  • Fitting: Regular or wide options available
  • Weight (pair): 1kg (size 11)
  • Eco: BetterLeather from a Leather Working Group tannery (eliminating wastewater pollution).

Berghaus Fellmaster Ridge GTX

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

OUR VERDICT: Waterproof, lightweight and supportive, for walking on hills and other terrain all year round.

Sturdy, handsome and versatile: the Fellmaster Ridge ticks all the boxes

A great all-rounder; this is a good quality boot sold at a relatively moderate price, that will keep your feet dry and comfortable in most UK environments. Initially feeling a little boxy, the boots soon settle in and after one or two strolls it feels as if you have owned them for years – the super-soft footbed helps.

Nubuck leather is used on the upper to provide durability and support. Their natural water-repellency can be topped up with a spray-on treatment available from outdoor shops. If moisture makes it through the uppers, the boots are lined with Gore-Tex, making them 100% waterproof and breathable. Considering the size and high-performing ankle support, the Fellmaster Ridge feels pretty light, a real advantage when moving quickly up and down uneven slopes.

The boot is quite high; if you feel rubbing around the ankle, drop the laces down one eyelet or lace them backwards (without crossing over on the final eyelet) before tying. DG.

Facts at a glance:

  • Uppers: Nubuck
  • Outsole: Anti-clogging Vibram
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex membrane
  • Fitting: One size – regular to wide
  • Weight (pair): 1.3kg

Mammut Ducan Mid GTX

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

OUR VERDICT: Highly versatile – suitable for all manner of walks, including fast hiking and backpacking – if you are happy to forego full-height ankle support.

If you could drive the Ducan, it would be a zippy little off-roader – lightweight and grippy for fast journeys

These sporty boots are comfortable and well-protected. The substantial outsole and chunky toecap help deliver a moderate weight of 1.2kg, but on the trail they feel much lighter – pleasantly responsive and low-profile.

Uppers are made of engineered mesh – or ‘knitted’ synthetic yarn – with a well-judged few millimetres of padding for comfort and protection.

They are rather novel in not having a separate tongue, just a single piece of upper that overlaps beneath and to one side of the laces, where the elasticated Gore-Tex membrane prevents moisture creeping in. It appears to make construction simpler and lighter. It might be asymmetrical, but it doesn’t feel lopsided. Far from it. Overall, balance and stability are excellent.

The lugs may be less chunky than some, but grip is great. And waterproofing is very effective. JP

Facts at a glance:

  • Also available: as a shoe, or high-ankled boot.
  • Uppers: Double Layer Engineered Mesh (synthetic)
  • Outsole: Vibram XS Trek
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex lined
  • Fitting: One width, suiting regular to wide feet
  • Weight (pair): 1.2kg (size 8.5)

Inov8 Roclite G 345 GTX

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Our verdict: Extremely grippy, breathable and lightweight – ideal for fast summer hikes on rugged trails.

Inov8 Roclite boots

Cumbria-based Inov-8 claimed fame as a maker of trail-running shoes, and this heritage is evident in these lightweight, highly breathable and grippy boots. If you are wearing in summer – or plan to move fast – these boots are really outstanding. They are so light and responsive that you may even choose to run in them.

They are pleasingly low-profile, with light protection, including a little rubber to protect your toes, and a minimal amount of padding in the uppers located mainly around the ankle cuff. Despite this, Ankle support is well-judged – low-profile enough to allow you freedom of movement, but effective enough to keep give you peace of mind on a pacy downhill.

The mesh uppers are highly breathable – you can actually feel air filtering through the fabric that covers the toe box, keeping your feet pleasantly cool as you warm up on a tough uphill. The flipside is that on winter walks, cold air penetrates parts of the upper a little too freely.

Waterproofing relies heavily on a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, which works pretty well, though don't expect perfectly dry feet once the boots have been thoroughly soaked.

Inov-8 are famous for the excellent grip their outsoles offer. The chunky, 6mm lugs also shed mud readily, keeping them unclogged and ready for your next step. Press the outsoles with your thumb nail and they seem to have a little more give to the touch than others, making them more likely to find traction on wet or smooth surfaces. If you’re worried this makes them less durable, be reassured that the compound soles contain graphene – which is tougher than steel; I’m curious to see what this adds to their lifespan. JP.

Facts at a glance:

  • Uppers: Synthetic mesh
  • Outsole: G-Grip: moderately flexible, Graphene-enhanced
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex membrane
  • Fitting: Regular to wide
  • Weight (pair): 790g

Skechers Relment-Pelmo (for men)

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

OUR VERDICT: Good value boots for occasional ramblers, over short to medium distances.

Relment-Pelmo boot

The Relment-Pelmo's memory foam insoles cushion your feet on hard trails.

At well under £100, these boots from US shoe-maker Skechers are among the most affordable on the market, which alone wins a star in our rating below.

Skechers describe the Relmont-Pelmo as a ‘comfort hiking style boot’ with a ‘relaxed’ fit that’s designed to be roomy. The Memory Foam insole delivers a soft ride, even a little bouncy.

The mid-height ankle is ideal for occasional walkers: providing just enough support on rugged ground, but cooler in warm than full-height boots, and lighter, too. The ankle collar is well-padded and the fit is firm but could be more supportive.

With suede uppers, plenty of padding and a chunky toe bumper, they clock it an a fairly substantial 1.3kg or so (my size 12's are 1.4kg), so don’t expect them to feel dynamic and responsive – I found them just a little bit sluggish on the move. But your feet do feel well protected, and the rubber outsole provides plenty of grip.

Mesh beneath the laces allows some air in… when summer comes, we’ll see if this is enough to keep feet cool. We’ll also keep testing for durability. I would expect the suede to soften and settle; we’ll see whether it retains its water-resistance. JP

Facts at a glance:

  • Uppers: Suede with synthetic and mesh fabric
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Waterproofing: Water-repellent uppers; no internal waterproof membrane
  • Fitting: generous, regular to wide
  • Weight (pair): 1.35kg

Columbia Peakfreak X2 Mid OutDry

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Our verdict: Excellent for hill hiking in spring and summer when you want a less chunky boot.

Peakfreak boots

Ultralight, super-grippy and waterproof: the Peakfreak X2 is a super summer boot

These super-lightweight boots feature a solid tread which provides excellent grip on rough terrain. The material provides a nice level of padding and the ankles feel well-supported without having the bulk of a heavier, more traditional hiking boot.

However, it’s in the wet that these boots outperform many other textile boots – I found the boots impressively waterproof on boggy grass and in heavy rain, with my feet staying dry. The uppers are made using synthetic textile with welded overlays which provides a decent level of waterproofing while also being breathable.

Our only bugbears with the boot were the sizing, which seems a little smaller than usual. Might be worth going up a size. The fit is also on the wide side.CM.

Facts at a glance:

  • Uppers: Textile with welded synthetic overlays
  • Outsole: Omni-GRIP non-marking traction rubber
  • Waterproofing: OutDry waterproof
  • Fitting: Regular, one width, on the small side
  • Weight (pair): 636g
  • Also available: as a low-cut shoe or full-height hiking boot

Altberg Dalesway Vegan Walking Boot

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Our verdict: A vegan-friendly take on a top-performing British boot for hill and fell walking

Famous for their burly boots, built out of half a cow in a classic style for traditional British hill ramblers, Yorkshire brand Altberg have done a Greggs with the Dalesway, and gone vegan – and they’ve pulled it off, too. Based on the perennially popular Fremington boot, the Dalesway still looks like it’s made with leather, but the upper is constructed with Lorica, a robust synthetic microporous material, with a Sympatex waterproof lining.

Weighing 630g, each boot boasts a Vibram outsole with the tried-and-tested Masai lug pattern, and a Tri-Flex 2 midsole provides mid-level flex and torsional resistance for support on technical terrain. As usual with Altberg, the build quality is excellent and the boot is offered in a range of width fittings, from extra narrow to extra wide, so the comfort levels are bespoke quality. The mid-height collar is extremely comfortable around the Achilles and heel, it has three quickhooks at the top of the laces, and a fully integrated tongue to keep stones and grit out. Overall, it’s an excellent three-season boot for hiking hills and peaks anywhere in Britain and beyond. PK

Facts at a glance:

  • RRP: £195
  • Uppers: Vegan-friendly Lorica
  • Outsole: Vibram Masai
  • Midsole: Tri-Flex 2
  • Waterproofing: Sympatex lining
  • Fitting: Various width fittings available
  • Weight: 630g per boot


Reviews by Daniel Graham (DG), Patrick Kinsella (PK), Carys Matthews (CM), Joe Pontin (JP)


Joe PontinFeatures Editor