If you like nothing better than striding out for a big walk, and want your kids to happily join you too, then it’s essential they’ve got the right footwear.
Happy feet equals happy child, and happy child equals more adventures.
Cold, wet feet, slip and trips, and sore spots can be a thing of the past with the right pair of boots, so we’ve rounded up the best boots for growing feet.
We tested all these boots for comfort, support and grip underfoot, and also considered their weight, waterproofing and whether they’re easy to get on and off.
We tried them out on a variety of terrain, from scrambling around rock pools to striking out on muddy footpaths and bridleways, as well as wearing them on wet grass and gravel tracks.
They all performed admirably – pick any of these and kids will be able to walk with confidence; the choice comes down to style and price.
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Reima spring boots wetter wash
Reima comes up trumps again with these. The consistently reliable outdoors brand for kids has become a firm favourite of ours and these boots are a perfect blend of street style and functionality. Ideal for everyday wear in spring and autumn, they’re warm without being too warm, waterproof, and lightweight thanks to the synthetic uppers and mesh liners.
High and supportive around the ankle, they’re easy to get on and off with elastic lacing and have reflective details. Best of all, they can be thrown in the washing machine at 30C. They’re available in eight colours and from size 24 to 38 (for smaller feet, from size 20, try the similar Patter Wash with Velcro fastenings).
Quecha MH500 kids waterproof walking boots
A proper pair of walking boots at a good price, these boots from Decathlon are the ideal next step up if your child is keen to start walking all day. Our tester loved the grippy soles, even through the mud, and the snug fit around the ankle. They offer a decent amount of waterproofing, are light enough to encourage nimble mountain goat moves, and are tied with traditional laces for unfussy support. Available either in light grey with lime, or dark grey with pink, and from size 28 to 38.
Sorel children’s Cheyanne II strap
These heavy-duty winter boots are for serious adventures. They keep everything out, including mud, water, snow, and come up on the leg the highest of any of the boots featured here. The vulcanised rubber sole is impenetrable and very comfy, and the upper is waterproof suede lined with fleece. Three velcro straps keep things snug, and Sorel claims a temperature rating of down to -32C. While we haven’t been able to put that extreme cold to the test recently, we can report they’re very cosy. Ideal for winter walks and playtime. Available from size 25 to 31.
Adidas terrex hyperhiker low shoes
A great option for all terrain adventures in the summer, these technical trainers are available in a low or high ankle boot style – we opted for the low, as we wanted a lightweight, sporty feel for hot days. And they haven’t disappointed – the sole feels solid with a decent grip and is firm enough to deal with plenty of ups and downs. They don’t claim to be waterproof yet kept our testers' feet dry during both a rain shower and a splash across a shallow stream. Available in blue or purple, and from size 28 to 39.
Keen younger kids’ terradora waterproof mid hiking boots
We love the splashes of coral and knitted effect membrane on these serious walking boots. The velcro strap and easy-lace system make them a great mix of “proper” grown up and user-friendly kids’ boots. With plenty of cushioning and extra padding around the tongue and collar they kept our tester happy and her feet dry –both waterproof and breathable. These are designed for girls’ developed feet, for a similar shoe designed for boys try the targhee sport. Available from size 24 to 31.
Jack Wolfskin mtn attack 3 texapore mid k
Fantastically light, these walking boots from Jack Wolfskin are like putting on a safe pair of gloves. Reliable and dependable, they offer good support around the ankle, a flexible but sturdy sole and a waterproof membrane. They’re very easy to take care of – dry mud just brushed off the synthetic upper. Our tester was surprised to find them particularly good for tree climbing and was in no hurry to take them off. Available from size 26 to 40.
Regatta samaris mid walking boots
Completely waterproof and windproof, as well as breathable, these walking boots from Regatta are ideal for taking your family walks to the next level. Very light, they have excellent cushioning and a seriously slip-proof sole. Our tester particularly liked the high grip around her ankle and the arch support, plus they’re another pair to easily keep clean – dry mud just brushed off. Available from size 28 to 39.
Scarpa terra kids
The most traditional walking boot featured here, the Terra from Scarpa is a classic, timeless pair of boots filled with modern tech. Exceptionally well built, they’ll last and last so think of them as an investment (they’re more suited to older kids whose feet have stopped growing). Designed for proper hiking, the sole is substantial without being overly heavy, and the ankles are snuggly supported. The leather upper oozes retro appeal – and while it may take a bit more maintenance than the other synthetic models featured here, it’ll only get better with time. Available from size 27 to 38.
Vivobarefoot Fulham kids
In complete contrast to the more traditional walking boots featured here, these boots embrace the bare foot ethos of giving growing feet all the goodness of sensory feedback. The sole is deliberately thin, wide and bendy, the idea being that feet can feel the ground, and have space to grow strong and flexible, which provides a solid base for balanced movement.
In practice, these are wonderfully versatile and have become a great everyday staple. Water resistant, they have a thermal insole that provides plenty of warmth and is snug to pull on and off. Despite not having a chunky sole, they have gripped surprisingly well and performed particularly well rock pooling on a chilly beach day. Available from size 25.5 to 32, in either turquoise or pale blue.
The verdict: Kids' walking boots
We love the Reima wetter wash boots – they’re sturdy and waterproof but also perfectly styled for everyday wear, so make great value for money. For more serious hikes with older children, it’s hard to beat Scarpa’s terra boots, and Keen's terradora mid hiking boots also deserve a mention – fantastically well designed, they offer great support and we love how breathable they are.
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