Spring is round the corner, so what better time to make the most of the countryside, with a nice long hike? But don’t forget your boots.
“Decent footwear is the most important piece of kit for any walker,” says Dominic Bates, editor of Walk, the magazine of the Ramblers.
Three-season boots are your best bet, he advises. “They are suitable for all but the most arctic conditions.”
Whether you prefer the instant comfort of lighter fabric boots or the more traditional, longer-lasting leather boot, it’s essential they fit the shape of your foot, he adds. “I recommend getting a proper fitting in a specialist store, where you may be able to get customised insoles too.”
He’s helped us round-up the best out there this season for all budgets, from Salomon’s great value and lightweight Comet 3D to Scarpa’s Delta Gtx, which is renowned for being blister and hot spot free right from your first walk, as well as lasting you years.
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10 best walking boots
10 best walking boots
1/10 Alt-Berg Yan Tan
These lightweight nubuk boots have unrivalled heel and arch support. “The numerous width sizes mean the fit is second to none,” says Dominic Bates, editor of Walk, the magazine of the Ramblers. “The waterproof liner stands up exceptionally well to wet conditions.” £174.99, altberg.co.uk
2/10 Adidas Terrex Fast R Mid Gtx
These award-winners are incredibly lightweight and have an innovative rubber sole that offers great grip, even in wet British conditions. £140, adidas.co.uk
3/10 Berghaus Explorer Trek
These boots, which have a great grippy outsole, seem to maintain comfort, regardless of how hard you pound, thanks to an ergonomic holding system that provides durable cushioning and support. They are breathable and waterproof too. £115, store.berghaus.com
4/10 Mammut Pacific Crest/White Rose Gtx
Heavy these may be, but “they feel sturdy, no-nonsense and robust”, says Dominic, who describes them as “a highly technical boot but with a pleasingly simple appearance”. A true three-season boot made from nubuk leather and a fabric mix upper, they will give great support on more arduous treks. £169.99, gaynors.co.uk
5/10 Asolo Power Matic 200 GV
This is a top-notch backpacking boot from a top-notch boot maker. The clever Micro Pulley lacing system means no tugging on laces. And they’ll keep feet stable and cushioned. £190, outside.co.uk
6/10 Lowa Khumbu II Gtx
These super breathable boots will keep tired feet cool. The fabric upper makes the boots feel light and increases comfort and flexibility – and they grip like a tractor. A pair that will serve you well on the UK’s hills if we get another heatwave (fingers crossed). £175, lowa.co.uk
7/10 Hi-Tec Altitude Pro RGS
These new men’s walking shoes are specifically designed to endure all weather conditions and varied terrain. Sure enough, the technology seems to do a fine job of creating durability throughout the change in seasons and comfort even on tough treks, as well as proving waterproof and impressive at shock absorption. £119.99, hi-tec.com
8/10 Brasher Hillmaster
These are Britain’s best-selling leather walking boot – hard-wearing yet lightweight and comfy. This is largely due to the leather lining and hi-tech sole that absorbs shock from the trail and reduces leg fatigue. £127.49, outdoorkit.co.uk
9/10 Salomon Comet 3D
“I love the lightweight, ‘trainer’-like comfort and fit of these boots,” says Dominic. “The excellent cushioning and heel stability gives an added spring and sure-footedness to every stride.” £99.99, milletsports.co.uk
10/10 Scarpa Delta Gtx
“This is an excellent and supportive boot, which does everything you want of a three-season boot,” says Dominic. Made from full leather, they are durable, waterproof and breathable and although they’re not cheap, they’ll last an exceptionally long time. £199.99, scarpa.co.uk
The Lowa Khumbu II Gtx is a supportive and protective heavy-duty boot that keeps your feet cool at all times. The Mammut Pacific Crest (or White Rose as the female version is called) is highly recommended thanks to its superb rigidity, durability and support. If you prefer something more lightweight, we’d suggest Adidas Terrex Fast R Mid Gtx, which has particularly impressive grip and support.