» Walking Boots

How to Choose the Best Walking Boots

If you’re looking to get outside and explore all the wonderful countryside has to offer you will want to buy a pair of reliable walking boots. The type of walking boot you need depends on where and when you are going to be walking, how far your walks are likely to be, the types of terrain you are traversing and of course, how much you want to spend. 

A good pair of hiking boots can make all the difference to give you the grip, support and protection you need when out walking.

Whether you’re off to climb a mountain or taking a stroll in some local woodland after pitching your tent, you want to find a pair of reliable walking boots that fit your requirements, budget and activity. 

How to Choose the Best Walking Boots 

There are lots of things to think about before buying a pair of hiking boots like the breathability, material, cost and the amount of support they have. 

Plan ahead and decide whether you need to purchase a pair of waterproof walking boots or whether you will be more of a fair-weather walker, this will automatically cut out a large portion of the market and make your decision a lot easier. 

If you’re in any doubt about whether you need waterproof boots or not, we would recommend you do choose them. Walking anywhere over medium or longer distances can mean you’ll be crossing lots of different types of terrain. The weather can change quickly and if you’re walking in the UK through the winter months, boots that keep your feet dry are a very sensible choice. It’s also likely that over your walking adventures you’ll take the odd wrong turn and have to tackle some streams.

Think about how long you will be standing up for, and choose boots that offer ample support for the entire length of time you will be walking.

Our Favourite Walking Boots:

BrandBootFeaturesWho for
RegattaWomen’s Bainsford Waterproof Walking Boots – Chestnut Alpine Purple* Waterproof
*Hydropel water resistant technology
*Action Leather upper
* Die Cut EVA footbed
* Lightweight
Women (Sizes 3 – 8)
RegattaMen’s Bainsford Waterproof Walking Boots – Peat* Waterproof
*Hydropel water resistant technology
*Action Leather upper
* Die Cut EVA footbed
* Lightweight
Men (Sizes 7-12)
BerghausWomen’s Supalite II Gore-tex Boots – Brown*Lightweight
* Water-resistant
Women (Sizes 4-8
half sizes)
BerghausWomen’s Expeditor Trek 2.0 Boots  – Blue*Lightweight
*EVA midsole
Women (Sizes 4-8
half sizes)
BerghausMen’s Supalite II Gore-tex Boots – Brown*Lightweight
Men (Sizes 7-12
including half sizes)
BerghausMen’s Expeditor Ridge 2.0 Boots  – Red/Black*Lightweight
*EVA midsole
*Good grip
Men (Sizes 7-12
including half sizes)

Types of Hiking boots 

  • Day hiking boots – This type of boot is best for shorter backpacking trips and day hikes. You can buy both mid and high cut models. Day hiking boots are quick to break in and flexible, however, due to being lightweight, they don’t offer a huge amount of support so may not be suitable for longer trips or if your feet require a lot of support. 
  • Hiking shoes – These low cut walking shoes are more like a trainer than a full boot. They have flexible midsoles and are excellent for a day out hiking. Due to being cut shorter, they don’t offer ankle support, so aren’t the best idea if you’re on uneven terrain where you need ankle stability. 
    *Our Favourite Hiking shoes *
    Men’s: Men’s Explorer FT Active Gore-tex Shoe  – Red/Black
    Women’s: Women’s Expeditor Active AQ Shoe  – Grey / Wine
    Backpacking Boots – This type of boot is designed for long walks and can support a heavier load. They offer a high level of stability and ankle support due to their high cut. They are durable and supportive however they may take a little longer to break-in. 

What Size Walking Boots Should You Buy? 

Walking boots should allow you to wiggle your toes but have a snug fit around the rest of your foot. 

Measure the length and width of your foot before you go shopping for a boot and work out if you have any quirks in your feet that may mean you need a specialist king of boot such as wide feet or flat feet. 

Many outdoor leisure retailers can help you measure your feet precisely, so you can choose the perfect size of boot. 

Remember you will likely want to wear a thick pair of walking socks when wearing your walking boots, so try on the boots with any other gear that you plan to wear. 

If you’re out for a full day of walking, you are likely to experience some swelling in your feet, so try on the boots at the end of the day if possible to check they still feel comfortable. 

Different walking boot brands offer different fits, if you’re buying walking boots online, read reviews of the brand you plan to buy to see if other people think they are true to size or if they recommend sizing up or down. 

Before you head out on your first walk in your new boots wear them around the house for a few days. Not only will this allow you to check that they fit you well, but it will also help you to wear them in. Even if you think you have work in your boots make sure you have a good supply of plasters with you and ideally spare socks too in case you get any unwanted rubbing.

What Materials are Walking Boots Made From? 

Walking boots come in many different materials, and the right one for you will depend on the type of activity you are undertaking, your budget and even your ethics. Walking boots come in many different materials and some are even vegan friendly, find out below the different materials that they can come in.

Walking boots are made up of three sections which are each made of different materials. 

The upper is everything outside of the shoe – this is where most of the features are, it gives the shoe its shape and structure. 

The midsole, is a layer of material at the bottom of the boot between the upper and outsole. It’s designed to support the foot. 

The outsole is the bottom of the boot that comes into direct contact with the ground. 

The Different Parts of Walking Boots

As we mentioned above, walking boots are usually made of at least three different parts. These sections are generally known as the upper, midsole and outsole.

Here’s a breakdown of what each part is commonly made of. 

The Upper: 

  • Full grain leather walking boot: Commonly used in backpacking boots, full-grain leather can offer great durability and water resistance. 
  • Split grain leather: Usually used for a lightweight boot, split-grain leather is normally paired with nylon to offer more breathability. This material often results in a cheaper walking boot, but may also offer less resistance from any water you encounter. 
  • Nubuck leather walking boot: This is a full-grain leather which can resemble suede. Nubuck leather is good at resisting water and is a durable material. Although this material is pretty flexible you want to make sure you break it in before taking it out on a longer hike. 
  • Synthetic walking boot: Modern walking boots are often made up of synthetic leathers like polyester and nylon. These materials offer a light, quick drying walking boot that is fast to break in. If you are looking for an affordable hiking boot this could be a great option however they may last less time than their non-synthetic counterparts. 
  • Waterproof membranes: Designed to keep your feet dry, waterproof boots often have a waterproof membrane such as Gore-Tex® or eVent®. Waterproof hiking boots are generally less breathable, so may mean you get hot feet in the summer.
  • Vegan: If you are looking for vegan walking boots look for products that are labelled as vegan or that use things like manmade materials or synthetic leather. Vegan hiking boots can be harder to come by and offer less durability than leather walking boots.


The purpose of the midsole is to provide support and offer protection to the foot along with the outsole. 

The most common materials for the midsoles are Phylon rubber or EVA – sometimes both are used. 


The outsole of the walking boot has to endure both the weight of the person in the boot and the ground below it. 

The foundation of the boot is often made up of Vibram as it is considered high quality and can offer longevity. 

Different types of boots will have different treads. Generally, if the boot has a deeper lug, the boot will have more traction. If you are planning a hill walk or trek up a mountain, you want to make sure your boot has a deep enough lug to keep your grip and good stability even through wet and muddy terrains. 

Should you Buy Walking Boots or Walking Shoes? 

If you’re wondering whether to buy hiking boots or hiking shoes, think about the type of walking you will be doing. Hiking shoes can be great for even walks and gentle terrain, however, if you will be walking on uneven ground or in the wet, walking boots will generally be a better option. 

Walking shoes are super lightweight and comfortable and can be ideal for trail walking or even just your daily stroll if you want something a bit more sturdy than a normal trainer. They require less breaking in than walking boots and can be more comfortable in warmer weather. 

Walking boots offer more ankle support and are better for walking up hills. They are often waterproof and are great for long hikes. 

Season ratings: 

Walking boots have a rating system based on how many seasons the walking boot is used for similar to sleeping bags. This system rates boots from one season boots to up to four season boots. 

  • One season – One Season boots are lightweight and flexible. They are best used in the summer for general use on trails or flat terrain. 
  • Two season – Two Season boots offer some ankle support and are more durable. They are great for use in spring and supper time on reasonably firm terrain. 
  • Three season – Three Season boots are the most versatile and popular boot for walking in the UK. The boots generally offer a good level of support to the foot and are suitable for long walks. Three Season boots can be used all year in the UK, they are suitable for steep and rocky terrain and are waterproof and can be used up to the snowline and if the boot is compatible can be attached to crampons for a short period of time. 
  • Four season – Four Season boots are often called “mountain boots” and are designed to be used in extreme weather conditions and at high altitudes. They are a specialist piece of footwear that can handle severe snow, rain and ice. They are very rigid and don’t offer a huge amount of comfort.

How Long Do Hiking Boots Last? 

How long walking boots last will depend on many different factors such as how much you use them, their quality, the terrain you walk on, your weight and walking style and how you care for them. 

The lifespan of a pair of boots will vary depending on your walking style. If you are a weekend hiker who goes on the odd walk on the flat ground your boots are likely to long outlast those of someone who is hiking up mountains. 

Weight plays an important factor in the longevity of a walking boot. If you are carrying a heavy backpack the added weight will put more strain on the boot and ultimately wear them out quicker. 

How to Look After Walking Boots

To extend the lifespan of your boots make sure you clean your walking boots after each use. Simply use tap water and a brush to get rid of water after each walk. 

If your boots get particularly wet you can reproof your boots. You can apply a waterproofer to your walking boots when they are completely dry and clean. This can help to keep your walking boots usable for a longer period of time and protect your feet from mud and water next time you use them.