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Best hiking boots 2021: The best walking boots to help you go the extra mile

Sian Lewis
30 Sep 2021
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Mountain high or valley low, our pick of the best hiking boots on the market – for men and women – will do you proud in any weather

If you’re planning any kind of outdoor adventure on foot, you're going to need a good pair of hiking boots. Trainers might suffice for a quick stroll in good weather, but anything more ambitious calls for a good, durable pair of waterproof boots designed specifically to deal with the elements.

A well-fitting, waterproof pair of walking boots will be a lifesaver in bad weather and on longer treks, and will have you hiking happily in rain or shine, blister-free. Well-made hiking boots don’t tend to come cheap, but it’s worth investing in one quality pair and looking after them. You’ll get years of wear out of them if you do.

Here, you’ll find our favourite pairs of hiking boots, all of which are guaranteed to perform, rain or shine. The selection comes at a range of prices to suit any budget, but although we’ve also got some great cheaper options on our list, we’d recommend paying around the £100 mark if you can afford it. Your feet may end up thanking you for it.

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Best hiking boots: At a glance


How to choose the best hiking boots for you

Should I buy leather or fabric hiking boots?

First up, you’ll need to choose between leather and fabric models. Traditional leather boots are heavier and stiffer, but will last you for years if you care for them properly. They also mould to your feet over time. Although need breaking in, you’ll end up with very comfortable boots.

The thicker material also makes leather designs warmer and ideal for winter wear. Fabric boots are lighter but less hardy, and tend to offer less warmth but more breathability, making them best suited to spring and summer rambles and for international travel. They also feel much comfier straight out of the box. Suede boots look great but do require more care to keep clean.

What other features should I look for?

Most decent hiking boots are waterproof and use treatments such as Gore-Tex or an own-brand waterproofing system to fend off rain. Make sure the walking boots you buy are listed as fully waterproof and not just water-resistant, as the latter can deal with a light shower but are pretty much useless in bad weather.

Hiking boots are usually designed with rugged rubber soles, and some use specific technology here, too. Vibram is the last word in toughness. Look for bouncy soles with deep lugs, which offer good grip. If in doubt, boots packing both Gore-Tex and Vibram tech are bound to be pretty decent (but can be expensive).

How do I get the best fit?

When trying on hiking boots, look for shoes with plenty of wiggle room for your toes and make sure they don’t feel tight anywhere around your heels. If you’re planning on hiking over rocky or uneven ground, boots with higher ankle support are a good choice. Boots designed for wide feet and for bunions are also available.

The more pairs you can try on, the better, as you might find that a specific brand's shoes suit your feet’s shape the best. Wear hiking socks when testing boots, and try lacing the boots up tight and checking they don’t rub around your ankles. If you’re buying leather, expect a bit of stiffness on the first few hikes until they adapt to your feet.

READ NEXT: These are the best walking socks to buy

The best hiking boots for men and women in 2021

1. Ariat Skyline Summit Gore-Tex: The best hiking boots

Price: From £169 | Buy women’s from Amazon | Buy men's from Amazon

Our top pick if you’re in the market for quality leather boots – and our best buy overall – is Ariat’s rather gorgeous Skyline Summit boot. If you want one do-it-all, high-performance boot, these are definitely worth investing in for years of hiking to come.

There’s no need to break in these super-comfortable boots, which combine the flexibility and light weight of mesh fabric with the tough warmth of leather. The Skyline Summits are also very breathable, making them a great boot for use all year round.

That soft suede leather is waterproofed with Gore-Tex, the soles offer great grip and stability even on tough terrain, and the boots look very smart, especially if you keep the leather in good condition.

Key specs – Weight: 538g; Waterproofing: Gore-Tex; Material: Leather; Sole: Duratread™

2. Brasher Country Master: The best country walking boots

Price: £140 | Buy women’s from Blacks | Buy men's from Blacks

A classic, and for good reason. Brasher’s Country Master has the kind of looks that might spring to mind when you hear the words “hiking boot” – it’s a simple, sturdy, heritage-inspired leather boot, and proud of it. The soft, sumptuous leather outer is fully waterproof and is paired with tough-as-nails Vibram soles that are happy striding over any terrain. The Country Master is warm in cold climates yet breathable in warmer weather so your feet won’t overheat. A good choice for a walking holiday, and if hiking boots tend to rub your ankles and heels, the excellent fit and soft suede cuffs might solve that.

Key specs – Weight: 740g; Waterproofing: Event; Material: Leather; Sole: Vibram

Buy women's from BlacksBuy men's from Blacks


3. Scarpa Mistral GTX: The best mountain hiking boots

Price: From £120 | Buy women's from Amazon | Buy men's from Amazon

The Mistrals tick every box we consider when looking for a mountain-ready boot. They combine our two highest-recommended technologies, Gore-Tex waterproofing and Vibram soles, so can take on the worst of the weather you throw at them without blinking.

Comfortable suede outers mould to your feet for a great fit, and a cushioned insole makes the Mistrals bouncy and easy to walk in mile after mile. A high-cut ankle also feels supportive, even on uneven terrain.

If you’re heading into the hills, this is our top all-round pick for men and women alike.

Key specs – Weight: 540g; Waterproofing: Gore-Tex; Material: Suede; Sole: Vibram


4. On Cloudrock Edge Raw: The best lightweight waterproof hiking boots

Price: £207 | Buy now from On

If you’re looking for a boot that’s both lightweight and waterproof, look no further. Weighing just 390g per boot, the bouncy Edge Raw feels just like a trainer when on your foot. These pale cream boots look a little different to your average boot, but that’s for good reason: they’re made with recycled materials and are undyed and unbleached, so they’re an environmentally-friendly pick. Deep lugs and full waterproofing make this rather stylish boot, which is able to stand up to the elements off the beaten track, too.

Key specs – Weight: 390g; Waterproofing: Waterproof Membrane Material: Fabric; Sole: Rubber

Buy now from On


5. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid: The best all-round walking boots

Price: From £140 | Buy women's from Amazon | Buy men's from Lowa

Lowa’s Renegade is a long-standing bestseller, and we’re guessing it’s because they have the heavy-duty qualities of leather boots yet feel soft and flexible to wear, so there’s no breaking-in period needed. We like the stay-put lacing system and higher ankle support, which is perfect if you’re planning on hiking steep hillsides, and the chunky soles have deep lugs for serious grip. The Renegade packs the double whammy of Gore-Tex waterproofing and Vibram soles, and is still light enough not to feel too chunky on easy walks in the country. If you can only afford one pair of outdoor boots, these are a no-brainer.

Key specs –Weight: 555g; Waterproofing: Gore-Tex; Material: Leather; Sole: Vibram

Buy women's from AmazonBuy men's from Lowa


6. TOG24 Penyghent: The best unisex hiking boots under £100

Price: £65 | Buy now from TOG24

TOG24’s new hiking boot collection delivers excellent quality for well under the £100 mark, and our top pick is the unisex Penyghent boot. That smart grey suede and fabric outer is a lightweight alternative to leather but is still waterproof enough to withstand a downpour, while the thick soles are cushioned and springy, even on long hikes. A great option if you’re watching the pennies, and we think the versatile looks of the Penyghent punch way above their price point – a good boot for wearing in the city as well as the countryside.

Key specs – Weight: N/A; Waterproofing: Waterproof membrane; Material: Suede; Sole: Rubber

Buy now from TOG24


7. Karrimor Munro: The best men's budget walking boots

Price: From £50 | Buy now from Amazon

Simply the best boot on the market for under £50. Karrimor’s Munro is a gem of a boot best suited to autumn and winter hikes and adventures. It uses the Weathertite waterproof system, which clearly knows its job – you can hike in a torrential downpour and still come home with bone-dry socks. Inside the boots you’ll find bouncy, cushioned inner soles, and the Munros sport a lower-cut yet supportive ankle. Any downsides for the cheaper price? They’re not the lightest boots on the market, and the laces aren’t the sturdiest we tried (but you could always replace them).

Key specs - Weight: N/A; Waterproofing: Weathertite; Material: Leather; Sole: Dynagrip


8. Regatta Clydebank Mid: The best women's hiking boots for wide feet

Price: £57 | Buy now from Outdoor Look

One of our favourite buys on a budget, the Clydebank might not be the most exciting hiking boot to look at, but its forte is that it’s a simple, excellent value and reliably waterproof hiking boot, so a fuss-free choice. We like the outer layer’s combination of sturdy suede and breathable mesh: a pairing that keeps the weight down and makes the boots feel springy and light to wear. We found the generous wide fit and great ankle support very useful on tough terrain. They're not the warmest boots we tested, however, and are best used from spring to autumn.

Key Specs – Weight: 447g; Waterproofing: IsoTex; Material: Suede and mesh; Sole: Duopoint

Buy now from Outdoor Look


9. Aku Alterra Gore-Tex: The best men's hiking boots for ankle support

Price: £220 | Buy now from AlpineTrek.co.uk

The Italian-made Alterra may be seriously easy on the eye, with a great outer design mixing smart suede and breathable fabric, but it still packs lots of substance as well as style. The high ankles offer very good support and are a sturdy and supportive choice if yours tend to roll or sprain, as they keep your foot in place very well as you move. Despite that added support, the boots are still flexible and light enough to wear all day over tough terrain. The Alterras have an admittedly hefty price tag but you do get a lot of excellent technology packed in: reliable Gore-Tex waterproofing, Vibram soles and a fantastic fit. They’re also one of the more breathable boots we tested.

Key Specs – Weight: 670g; Waterproofing: Gore-Tex; Material: Suede; Sole: Vibram

Buy now from AlpineTrek.co.uk


10. Timberland Garrison Trail: The best hiking boots for style

Price: £135 | Buy women’s from Timberland | Buy men’s from Timberland

Combine the light comfort and relaxed looks of your favourite pair of trainers with the sturdiness of hiking boots and you have Timberland’s new Garrison Trail. We reckon these are some of the most stylish hiking boots around, and work just as well worn with jeans as with walking trousers.

They may have urban looks, but the Garrison Trails are outdoors-ready too, with good deep lugs in their soles offering grip on wet surfaces, a waterproof membrane and tough protective rubber toes and heels. They’re also available in a hiking shoe version if you’re looking for something a little more lightweight.

Key Specs – Weight: 368g; Waterproofing: TimberDry; Material: Leather; Sole: TimberGrip

Buy women’s from TimberlandBuy men’s from Timberland


11. Keen Ridge Flex boots: The best hiking boots for comfort

Price: £155 | Buy women's from Keen | Buy men's from Keen

Keen have come up with a rather innovative new technology to help their boots last longer – the Bellows Flex replaces the part of the toe box just below the laces with a ridged plastic insert. This is designed to flex and bend more easily than other materials which might wear and crack over time.

That flexible tech combines with Keen’s ever-popular design know-how to form a very comfortable boot indeed. A springy sole and cushioned insole make every step comfy, and the generous toe box will suit walkers with wider feet – these are great boots for tackling long distances in.

As ever, Keen’s own-brand waterproofing tech – Keen.Dry – does a great job of keeping rain at bay, and leather is warm enough for winter use.

Key Specs – Weight: 550g; Waterproofing: Gore-Tex; Material: Leather; Sole: Vibram

Buy women's from KeenBuy men's from Keen