To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

The best walking shoes for men and women in 2023

Hiker tying up shoelaces on brown walking shoes on a sunny day

Swap clunky hiking boots for a pair of lightweight and waterproof walking shoes – here’s our pick of the best

There’s nothing better than venturing into the great outdoors, and the best walking shoes provide a capable middle ground between lightweight trainers and weightier hiking boots. Harder-wearing, grippier and more supportive than a pair of everyday trainers, walking shoes are the perfect multi-purpose footwear for everything from popping to the pub or walking the dog to tackling longer walks when you venture out into the hills.

These days, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking shoes, so it can be tricky to pick the pair that best suits your needs and your budget. In this article, you’ll find our pick of the best walking shoes for both men and women, and the shortlist includes the whole gamut of footwear ranging from grippy walking sandals for summer jaunts all the way through to fully waterproof footwear designed to handle the worst of the British weather.

You’ll find our favourite walking footwear choices in the at-a-glance list below, or you can scroll down the page for our quick buying guide and wider variety of bite-size mini reviews.

Best walking shoes: At a glance

Best all-round walking shoes
Adidas Terrex Skychaser 2.0 Gore-TexPrice: ~£80
Adidas Skychaser 2.0 Gore-Tex in mustard yellow with orange accentsExpert verdict: “Fully waterproof, treated with reliable Gore-Tex technology, and the hardiest, grippiest soles of all the shoes we tried out”
Buy women’s from AmazonBuy men’s from Sports Direct
Best cheap walking shoes
Path WaterproofPrice: ~£40
Path Waterproof shoes in grey with mauve accentsExpert verdict: “A smart, comfy choice for fairweather walkers – the tough, grippy soles and water-resistant uppers are great in drier conditions.”
Buy women’s from Mountain WarehouseBuy men’s from Mountain Warehouse
Best for tougher terrain
Keen Targhee IIIPrice: ~£130
Keen Targhee III walking shoes in dark grey with pastel blue accentsExpert verdict: “It might not exude street-friendly style, but this iconic, hard-wearing shoe keeps your feet snug and dry in even the worst weather.
Buy women’s from KeenBuy men’s from Keen

How to choose the best walking shoes for you

What’s the difference between walking shoes and hiking boots?

Essentially, walking shoes are designed with the same features as hiking boots, including waterproofing, rugged, bouncy soles and breathable fabrics, but usually feature lower ankle cuffs and tend to weigh less than boots, making them ideal if you find heftier hiking boots restrictive in the summer or if you’re travelling in warmer climates.

Walking shoes are versatile, too, and easy to wear everywhere from peak to pub to morning dog walk. They’re often as comfy as trainers to wear, and don’t need breaking in, but their breathable, man-made fabrics do make them less warm than thick boots. They’re also cheaper than hiking boots – we’d recommend spending around £50 and picking a waterproof pair such as the high-performing pairs we’ve tested below.

How do I get the right fit?

When trying on walking shoes, check that they don’t feel tight anywhere around your heels and that you have plenty of room to wiggle your toes. Don’t pick anything that feels like it fits on the snug side, as your feet will tend to expand on long hot walks.

Try lacing the shoes up tight and checking they feel like they’ll stay in place without any tightness or rubbing around your ankles. Take along the kind of socks you usually wear to walk in, and try on as many pairs as possible to see what styles fit you best – if you have wide feet or suffer from bunions, look out for shoes designed specifically for you.

What key features should I look out for?

A good walking shoe is waterproof and breathable on top, with tough rubber soles with great grip below. It makes sense to pick a good-looking pair of shoes, so that you can get more wear out of them. If you want to wear your shoes in the summer, a lighter mesh fabric is a good pick – if you want a style to use in all weathers, leather and suede shoes are heavier but warmer.

Tough, bouncy soles are worth investing in if you’re planning on hillwalking, and some shoes use branded technology such as Vibram soles that are great quality. Check they offer good grip – some shops even have mock terrain you can test your shoes out on.

Do my walking shoes actually have to be waterproof?

If we were rounding up hiking boots suitable for cold weather we’d say absolutely yes, but when it comes to walking shoes it does depend on where you plan to use them. If you want shoes for summer walks, travel in hot climates or aquatic adventures such as rock pooling, you’re better off picking something light and quick-drying, such as a mesh shoe or walking sandals with closed rubber soles that will keep your feet cool in and out of the water whilst protecting your feet. You can even buy ‘shandals’ – sandal/shoe hybrids that have large vents to keep you cool and enable you to wear them in water.

If, however, you want hiking shoes with low ankles you can wear on walks in the hills and use in spring and autumn, pick a waterproof pair. Make sure the shoes you buy are labelled waterproof, rather than water-resistant if you want to wear them in bad weather. Gore-Tex is a reliable waterproofing system to watch out for.

READ NEXT: Best running shoes

The best walking shoes for men and women

1. Adidas Terrex Skychaser 2.0 Gore-Tex shoes: The best shoes for trail walking Adidas Skychaser 2.0 Gore-Tex shoes in camo green with duck egg and fuschia accents

These shoes may look like relaxed trainers, but they perform like technical hiking boots and are designed to withstand the elements. The Skychaser shoes are fully waterproof, treated with reliable Gore-Tex technology, and also offer the hardiest, grippiest soles of all the shoes we tried out. Both tough and lightweight in one well-designed package, they’re ideal for walking in the back of beyond, especially in bad weather, when they show their mettle and give fantastic grip even on muddy paths. Worth shelling out for if you regularly hit the trails, especially since they’re available in fashion-forward colourways that make them easy to wear daily as well as in the great outdoors.

Adidas Terrex Skychaser 2.0 Gore-Tex 
Price: ~£80Material: Textile and rubber
Weight: 354g (Size 10)Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
Buy women’s from AmazonBuy men’s from Sports Direct

2. Mountain Warehouse Path Waterproof walking shoes: The best cheap walking shoesPath Waterproof walking shoes in grey with mauve accents

A pocket-friendly price for a surprisingly high-performing shoe. The Paths, from Mountain Warehouse, are very comfy, trainer-like walking shoes perfect for the summer. Their price is reflected in the fact that only the soles are fully waterproof – the uppers are just water-resistant, and will withstand light rain but will probably let in water if you jump in puddles. That doesn’t stop the Paths from being a smart choice for fairweather walkers, though – we like their tough rubber soles, which offer great grip even on slippery rock, and the breathable fabric, ideal if your feet tend to overheat on walks.

Path Waterproof
Price: ~£40Material: Textile
Weight: N/AWaterproofing: Waterproof soles, water-resistant upper
Buy women’s from Mountain WarehouseBuy men’s from Mountain Warehouse

3. Keen Terradora II waterproof shoes for women: The best shoes for travelling

Keen Terradora II shoes in terracotta

Keen’s much-loved Terradora shoe for women is back and better than ever in its latest incarnation, the Terradora II. This deliriously comfortable, lightweight shoe feels like just wearing your favourite trainers (and has trainer-like looks and colourways, too) – but performs brilliantly when you’re trekking, too.

The Terradora II is reliably breathable, offers good grip and is waterproof enough to withstand a shower. We love them for travelling in hot climates when you need just one shoe that can go from city exploring to serious hiking.

Keen Terradora II
Price: ~£115Material: Keen.Dry
Weight: 370g (Size 9)Waterproofing: Textile
Buy women’s now from Keen

4. Keen Zionic Waterproof: The best walking shoes for speed and comfort

Keen Zionic Waterproof shoes in Dark Forest/Black on a white background

Keen’s sleek-looking Zionic range takes the fast and light walking shoe template and quite literally runs with it – if you want a shoe that’s comfy at walking or running pace, this is a great choice.

The Zionic Waterproof have the kind of deep cushioning we’re more used to finding on top-end trail running shoes, and the lugged outsole is noticeably softer and grippier than that of many rivals – where some shoes tend to slide too easily on wet rock and roots, the Zionic’s are far more predictable.

Break into a jog and the Zionic’s soles return oodles of energy, literally bouncing you along the trail, and the waterproofing keeps your feet bone dry. We could ask for a little more lateral ankle support, though; there’s not quite as much heel stability as more classic designs, such as Keen’s own Targhee III.

Keen Zionic Waterproof
Price: ~£135Material: Ripstop mesh upper with TPU overlays
Weight: 350g (Size 9)Waterproofing: Keen.DRY
Buy men’s now from Keen 

Buy women’s now from Keen

5. Lowa Innox Pro GTX Lo: A brilliant walking shoe for comfortLowa Innox Pro GTX Lo walking shoes in royal blue

Meet the impressive Innox Pro. Lowa’s low-cut, trainer-style offering is on the pricey side, but this shoe is packed with high-performance features including tough Gore-Tex waterproofing and Lowa’s own-brand bouncy, grippy rubber soles.

At 415g per shoe the Innox Pro won’t weigh you down as you hike, and the deeply cushioned inner soles are super-comfortable. Whether you’re walking the dog or trekking long distances, these shoes keep your feet feeling fresh hour after hour.

The neutral looks make them versatile enough to wear everywhere from walks to work, and they’re also 100% vegan, so they’re a great pick if you’re aiming to shop ethically.

Lowa Innox Pro GTX Lo
Price: ~£150Material: Fabric
Weight: 415g (Size 9)Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
Buy men’s now from Lowa 

Buy women’s now from Lowa

6. Chaco Odyssey sandal: The best for aquatic adventuresChaco Odyssey sandals in green, grey and mustard colourway

The perfect balance between a shoe and a sandal, Chaco’s Odyssey shoe combines tough rubber and a wide, bouncy sole with plenty of ventilation and seriously grippy soles.

A criss-cross strap helps you get a snug, stay-put fit and keeps the sandals from sliding about. While your toes are protected, your heels are left free, which keeps feet cool but offers less protection than a traditional shoe.

The mesh upper means that the lightweight Odyssey also dries very quickly, making it perfect for wild swimming, rock pooling and summer adventures by the sea.

Chaco Odyssey
Price: ~£100Material: Mesh, Polyester, EVR, ChacoGrip rubber
Weight: 306g (Size 9)Waterproofing: N/A
Buy men’s now from Great Outdoors 

Buy women’s now from Great Outdoors

7. Adidas Terrex Swift R3 Gore-Tex: Hard-wearing, comfy and stylishAdidas Terrex Swift R3 in dark grey and army green

If you like the idea of a tough walking shoe that also looks good, the Terrex Swift R3 effortlessly fits the bill. The sharp design, robust construction and classy colourways make for a shoe that’s as suitable for bimbling down the road to the local pub as it is scrambling up hillsides in the wilderness, and the Gore-Tex lining means that your feet will stay cosy and dry even when the heavens open.

The tough outsole is made with sticky rubber from tyre manufacturer Continental, and the aggressive tread profile and low cut design only gets out of its depth once the trail turns to deep, wet slop where a full walking boot – or wellies – would fare better. If you want a tough, stylish, do-it-all shoe, then the R3 is a hugely capable all-rounder.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 Gore-Tex | Read our full Adidas Terrex R3 Gore-Tex review
Price: ~£140Material: EVA midsole, Rubber outsole
Weight: Not statedWaterproofing: Gore-Tex
Buy men’s from Adidas  

Buy women’s from Adidas

8. Keen Targhee III Waterproof Hiking Shoes: The best for waterproof all-terrain adventuresKeen Targhee III walking shoes in dark brown with light brown and grey accents

We’ve found Keen footwear to be instantly comfortable from the word go, so it’s no surprise that its hard-wearing Targhee III walking shoe is factored into our list of the best walking shoes on the market at the moment. It’s an iconic shoe in its third incarnation and has a focus on the company’s KEEN. dry technology, which includes a waterproof, breathable membrane and a leather mud shield that makes sure your feet stay dry in most of the conditions you’re likely to throw at it. The fit and durability of the Keen boot has been transferred to this lighter-weight, comfortable shoe and we’d feel that you’d be confident taking it across a multitude of terrains.

Keen Targhee III Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Price: ~£130Material: Leather, textile, gum rubber
Weight: 449gWaterproofing: KEEN.dry membrane and leather mud shield
Buy men’s now from Keen 

Buy women’s now from Keen

9. Vivobarefoot Primus Trail II: The best barefoot walking shoesVivoBarefoot Primus Trail walking shoes in black

Join the barefoot revolution in Vivobarefoot trail shoes, which are designed to mimic how feet move with no footwear on at all and provide sensory feedback from the trail whilst still protecting from rocks and debris. These kicks are light as air and so flexible that you’ll barely feel them on your feet – you can even roll them up small for easy travelling. They aren’t waterproof, but they are quick-drying, and the deep lugs on the soles provide excellent grip. The Primus Trail is made of recycled PET bottles too, for extra eco brownie points.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail II
Price: ~£130Material: Mesh
Weight: 205g (Size 10)Waterproofing: None
Buy men’s now from VivobarefootBuy women’s now from Vivobarefoot 

10. Keen Arroyo II sandals: The best for summerKeen Arroyo II sandals in brown leather with orange lining and accents

Are they sandals? Are they shoes? We’d argue that they’re the best of both worlds. Keen’s Arroyo II are a fantastic choice for balmy summer walks. They aren’t waterproof, obviously, but by choosing walking sandals you gain a lot of lightness and breathability – no sweaty feet here. Meanwhile, the tough rubber toe cap makes them hiking-ready, and you can also wear them for swimming when hiking on the shoreline, as they’ll protect your feed in water. These smart leather ‘shandals’ are seriously comfy and give great grip on long walks, although they aren’t as quick-drying as fabric walking sandals.

Keen Arroyo II
Price: ~£120Material: Leather
Weight: 331g (Size 10)Waterproofing: None
Buy men’s now from Keen Buy women’s now from Keen