Once upon a time, children’s boots only meant one thing: a pair of Dunlop school issue wellies. Thankfully, times have changed and there’s a whole range of children’s walking boots available from major outdoor manufacturers.
It’s great to see the big names designing boots for children as getting your kids interested in choosing walking boots is one of the best ways to get them excited about discovering the great outdoors.
And from the age of 14, many teenagers are getting into the outdoors in a big way by starting the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) – and it’s good to know there are boots which will take the rigours that throws up.
So here’s our pick of ten of the best children’s walking boots on the market today.
1. Hi-Tec Altitude Lite i Waterproof: £39.99, Hi-Tec
These boots are great all-rounders. The rubber outsouls provide great grip and Hi-Tec claim these boots have a protective layer which repels water & dirt – and it seems to work. A removable lining also increases the lifespan of the boots. Available with orange or yellow detail.
2. Regatta Elvina Jnr: £23.95, Regatta
These come in three colours and were popular with our little walkers. Their looks, however, hide their practicality: the Isotex liner is watertight and breathable (so no sweaty feet) and they feel cosy with a fleece lining. The all-over Hydropel finish repels water and the grip is good too.
3. Mountain Warehouse Rapid Kids Waterproof Boots: from £12.99, Mountain Warehouse
The big problem with walking boots for kids is they have a habit of growing out of them quickly. So these are amazing value for money. The suede and mesh upper is breathable and waterproof, and there’s ample support for those growing ankles too. Construction is good for the price – and with the orange highlighted version currently at £12.99, that’s even better.
4. Muck Boots Kid’s Hale: £49, Muck Boots
These aren't walking boots in the traditional sense of the phrase, but these trendy wellies are super for getting outdoors.They’re 100 per cent waterproof, so no wet feet here, and the stretchy tops keep the heat in and the cold out, helped by the 4mm neoprene. They come in a range of snazzy colours from standard black to pink zebra print.
5. Teva Escapade Mid: £30, Teva (available in mid February)
Perhaps not too well-known in the UK, Teva makes some great boots, and the Escapade Mid are built in that mould. Leather uppers and a non-marking outsole with good grip define these boots, while the yellow highlighting will appeal to both kids. Rugged and very waterproof – these are worth finding.
6. Berghaus Expeditor AQ Trek: £100, Berghaus
By the age of 14, most teenagers will be in adults’ sized boots, and these Berghaus are one of the few on the recommended list for the DofE Award. Available in both men’s and women’s fit and in half sizes up to 10 ½, these are well suited to what the scheme will throw at them. The waterproof suede upper, an AQ waterproof lining and Berghaus’ own outsole pattern are the business.
7. Mountain Warehouse Canyon Kids Waterproof Boot: £29.99, Mountain Warehouse
The Canyon is bold. Bold because it doesn’t have fancy coloured highlighting and actually resembles grown-up walking boots. They include some grown-up features too, such as fairly deep grip on the outsole, good protection around the ankles and the tongue, and decent waterproofing.
8. Merrell Reflex Mid Waterproof: £45, Merrell
It’s great to see companies like Merrell making children’s boots, and these are quality stuff. All designed around Merrell’s own M-Select technology, they are lightweight – one of the lightest of the ten – are waterproof, and the removable footbed helps prevent athlete’s foot. Available in two colours.
9. Hi Gear Sakaki Kid’s Walking Boot: £29.99, Go Outdoors
Available from the many Go Outdoors stores across the country, Hi Gear’s Sakaki Kid's Walking Boots are very much in the trainer styling, but despite being labelled for boys, the design doesn’t exclude girls. Waterproof and fairly comfortable for the price, the man-made materials are quite strong and wipe clean easily. The grip isn’t bad, but perhaps more suited to low-level family walks rather than starting ascents on mountains.
10. Jack Wolfskin MTN Storm Texapore Mid B: £30, Jack Wolfskin
Big boots from another big name in walking boots. These look more serious than some on the list, and have some serious features – the Texapore membrane is waterproof and breathable, and the heel and toecaps have protective layers for safety. The grip is great, which is a surprise when you look at the pattern. Two colour styles are available.
Walking boots for children are always a compromise. On the one hand, it’s important to make sure your child’s feet are comfortable and supported whilst outside, and on the other, you’d prefer not to spend too much knowing in around eight months they’ll have grown out of them. The Hale from Muck Boots came a close second, but my best buy is the Hi-Tec Altitude Lite i. Great all-round boots; solid, comfortable and easy to clean – and the removable lining does extend their life somewhat.
Andrew White is a writer, filmmaker and broadcaster. He edits the website Walks Around Britain and a television series of the same name starts on the Community Channel on January 22 at 9pm.
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