Best kids walking and hiking boots in 2022
Help little feet conquer every terrain in comfort with our expert guide to the best kids' walking boots on the market.
With adequate preparation, walks with children can be wonderful adventures, filled with memorable outdoor moments. But whatever it involves, be it tree climbing, jumping streams, climbing over stiles or running up grassy slopes, the success of a family walk ultimately depends on the comfort of the child.
One thing you can do as a parent is invest in some kids waterproof walking boots. More grippy and supportive than wellies, they can make a huge difference for kids when exploring the great outdoors, and make your life easier in the process. Children have different needs to grown-ups, and a decent pair of boots will be designed with this in mind. We've tried and tested a number of kids hiking boots over the course of the winter and have selected our favourites below.
Looking for something for rainy day splashing? Check out our review of the best kids wellies and kids waterproof trousers. If your boots aren't fit for your own adventures, check out our guide to the best walking and hiking shoes and the best walking boots.
Read on for our expert guide to the best kids walking boots on the market.
The best kids' walking and hiking boots to buy in 2022
Columbia Kids' Firecamp Mid 2 Waterproof Shoe
A flexible, lightweight and accessibly priced set of hiking boots for children that insulate little feet and stand up impressively against the elements. As soon as 5-year-old Rowan stepped out of the house, he bounced off down the road with noticeable spring. The pull-cord fastenings are fantastic for little fingers that can’t yet work shoelaces, and the loop at the back helps protect against that child's urge to push down the back of a shoe to get it on. We tested them over numerous terrains, including country lanes, muddy tracks and waterlogged Northumberland fields, and found them amazingly waterproof – even after five miles over boggy moorland. Five miles later, Rowan’s feet were still warm and almost completely dry, despite having been completely submerged several times. Worth every penny if you like the idea of an almost carry-free walk with young children.
My only criticism would be that the shoes are a bit too stiff for small children to put on by themselves – but this is fairly common in hiking boots for younger children because of the small proportions.
VERDICT: Flexible, lightweight and warm – great for bringing bounce to walks with younger children. TJ
KEEN Unisex Kid's Ridge Flex Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Supportive, tough and very comfortable, these boots could easily become every day wear. They’re a grown-up style but with clever features for children that have been well thought out. For example, there is reinforced support in the back of the heel, where seven-year-olds tend to shove their foot in any old how, usually bending it inwards and wrecking it. Not possible with these. They’re also flexible where it counts: just above the toes on the top of the foot is a piece of concertina rubber, which makes their balance when crouching easier, and doesn't crease the leather. Finally, they are also waterproof – having stood up to the same boggy conditions as the Columbia Firecamps above, and kept the feet inside warm and almost completely dry.
VERDICT: Well-designed boots with children's needs in mind: sturdy, warm and comfortable. TJ
Merrell Big Kid's Greylock Waterproof Boot
These very bright mustard coloured boots will be a hit for the fashion conscious kid, almost trainer-like in design. My 9 year old son Elliott loved the colour and styling commenting how unique they were. The boots are super lightweight with a durable leather upper that felt soft and flexible. Easy to slip on with no-fuss Elliott was immediately impressed with how comfortable they felt and gave good ankle support. They boast an anti-stink lining to reduce odours which I will be keen to check out after a few more long walks as it will be miracle to tame my son’s smelly feet! Putting the boots to the test in the rain, they performed really well with great grip, and dry feet. I’m not sure they’d be the most practical for tough muddy winter walks but are probably better suited for easier days walking, especially if you want to keep them that lovey colour!
VERDICT: A comfortable, good-looking pair of hiking boots for fashion-conscious kids but best saved for drier walks.
- Buy now from Merrell (RRP £55)
Scarpa Terra S Kid GTX
These great-looking, sturdy boots were an instant hit with my 7-year-old son Zac, from the moment he slipped his feet in he commented on how soft felt. Sometimes getting boots on children can be a hassle but with the sewn-in tongue and quality metal eyelets and hooks we were swiftly on our way. Our first test was the stunning Aira falls in the Lake District which Zac practically ran up mentioning how comfortable his new boots were. Putting them to good test the water-resistant suede oiled leather stood up to the challenge, Zac splashed through muddy puddles, clambered over slippery rocks and attacked Gowbarrow Fell with ease in these impressive boots. The acid test for any kids boots is will their feet be dry at the end of a wet walk but the GORE-TEX® Performance membrane designed for breathability and waterproofing certainly stood up to the test. Over the next week Zac covered many miles in his new boots and loved them.
The only downside would be the laces which were far too long for these little boots.
VERDICT: Sturdy, easy to pull on, excellent waterproofing – recommended. TB
Tanya Jackson is the acting group digital editor of countryfile.com and discoverwildlife.com. Her parents had a pet shop when she was growing up, so she learnt very young how intelligent rats are and why you don’t stick your hands near the beak of a cockatoo. She loves camping, hiking and watching the red kites soar over the Wiltshire hills.