The best walking and hiking shoes or boots tend to have certain things in common; they're comfortable, supportive and won't make you feel like you've got lead weights on your feet after the first three miles of your journey. Whether you're looking for leather boots, waterproof boots, lightweight fabric boots, winter boots, hiking shoes, or simply some stylish-looking boots to take you from the trail straight into the pub, today's adventure footwear offers something for everyone, from great brands like Danner, On Shoes, Adidas, Inov-8, Salewa and more.
Today's hiking footwear makes use of scientifically researched soles, modern fabric technology and endless fine-tuning to make them comfortable, waterproof and stable enough to handle the most rugged terrain with comfort. But these new materials and varying designs bring an array of options, with innumerable brands promising you the. That can make it particularly challenging to figure out which will be the best for you.
Thankfully, I've put together my picks for the best perform as well as they're supposed to, whether you're to go backpacking or simply schlepping around town. If they didn't impress, they didn't make the list.and hiking footwear. Each product in this list has been hand-selected and tested to ensure that they
Note that this list focuses on men's hiking shoe models. You can also check out our list of, which includes some of the same brands here, plus a couple of women's-only hiking shoes. Note that all the hiking boots shown here were tested in men's models except where noted.
The Free Spirit boots have a stylish retro look, similar to Danner's Jaq Quilt (seen at the bottom of this list). But while the Jags are built with a thermal lining for cold-weather hikes, the Free Spirits are lighter and more breathable making them suited more for summer walks in mixed terrain.
Their sneaker-like fit makes them comfortable to wear all day, while their high ankle support, Gore Tex lining and durable footbed makes them well suited for forest and hillside trails in any conditions. I also found them equally at home on the wet cobbled streets around Edinburgh.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Danner Free Spirit boots here.
The deep padding of the footbed and the flexible outer material makes the Dropline GTX probably the most comfortable hiking shoes I've ever worn. They've tackled mile upon mile of woodland, dirt trails and loose gravel -- along with city-center asphalt and paving -- and they never fail to feel supportive. They're also light, grippy and waterproof thanks to their Gore-Tex lining.
They're an exceptional shoe for everything from Sunday afternoon wanders through the park to weekends away in the hills.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Salewa Dropline GTX shoes here.
Salewa's Dropline GTX shoes were already some of my favorite fast-hiking shoes, thanks to their exceptionally comfortable footbed which allows you to walk at speed without ever feeling weighed down. The Dropline Mid shoes take that same formula and add a mid-height ankle, giving increased support on more challenging or loose terrain.
They lack the waterproof Gore-Tex lining, which is a shame, but the close-fitting "sock" ensures that stones or other bits of loose debris won't find their way inside your shoe.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Salewa Dropline Mid shoes here.
I absolutely adore the leather and waxed canvas design of these boots, which results in something that works just as well when worn with jeans in a pub garden as they do halfway up a hillside. They're comfortable enough for all-day wear, going from city to trail, while the Gore-Tex lining will keep out the worst of the weather.
They're solidly-built, too, with thick, sturdy leather (that'll age over time), strong Vibram soles and high ankle support that'll offer support over tough terrain. They're hand-built in Danner's Portland, Oregon factory and can be sent back to be resoled at such point as they wear out.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Danner Ridge boots here.
The deep, rugged lugs of the Continental sole and the sturdy footbed make the Terrex AX4 shoes a solid option for everyday hikes, especially if you don't need the ankle support -- and additional weight -- of a regular boot. They're comfortable on multi-hour walks and the Gore-Tex lining means that a sudden rain shower won't result in you returning home with wet feet.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Adidas Terrex AX4 shoes here.
The Facet 60 OutDry combines lightweight materials with mid-ankle support that makes them feel more like sneakers than traditional hiking boots. They're comfortable to wear all day, have a waterproof lining to keep the rain out and have an aesthetic that's as much at home queueing at a street food market as it is heading into the hills.
This is a great do-it-all traveling shoe that will work equally well on city explorations and countryside trails.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Columbia Facet 60 Outdry boots here.
I love Inov-8's existing boots, which infuse the wonder-material graphene into the sole (seen below) but its most recent RocFly G390 boots take that further and put graphene in the footbed as well. Why? Well Inov-8 reckons it keeps the foam soft and supportive for longer, meaning these boots will feel just as good after 50 miles as they did after 5.
I found them comfortable, with great ankle support and robust grip that gave me confidence for fast-paced walking on hillside trails in any conditions. The Roclite Pro (seen below) are the more burly ones in the range so it's those you should look towards for more mountainous conditions.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Inov-8 RocFly G 390 boots here.
Brandecosse The Capriolo
Soft leather boots perfect for countryside hikes
Brandecosse Boots is based in Scotland, so it's no surprise that the Capriolo boots tackled the many trails, hills and rocky footpaths of the Cairngorms National Park in the heart of the country with ease when I took them for a long weekend of testing. The boots themselves are hand-built in Italy, and the result is a quality-feeling product that's both comfortable over long distances and supportive when the going gets more tough.
They're surprisingly light for a leather boot, so I never felt weighed down by them, while the waterproof and breathable inners meant that my feet kept cool in the summer heat while unexpected stream crossings didn't result in wet socks.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Brandecosse Capriolo boots here.
Like the Roclite 345s above, these boots are infused with graphene for added durability, are lined with Gore-Tex for waterproofing and are comfortable right out of the box. However, the Pro G 400s have a thicker, stiffer sole, more support around the ankle and a ceramic coating on the upper material that makes them much more suited to tougher terrain.
This waterproof hiking boot is still surprisingly lightweight though, and I had no problem wearing them on all-day hikes on forest trails and muddy hill tracks. The deep lugs on the sole help them dig into loose terrain to keep you stable on rugged terrain, and I certainly felt confident that my feet weren't going to slip out from under me.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Inov-8 Roclite G Pro 400 boots here.
Athletic Propulsion Labs is better known for its sports and athletics footwear, and while the TechLoom Defenders do look like a pair of basketball sneakers, they're built for a life off the court. Featuring sturdier, grippier soles, a waterproof design and a higher, more supportive ankle that'll keep you upright on difficult terrain.
While I wouldn't wear them on an alpine expedition, they're comfortable on all-day treks across the city and the beach and won't struggle with riverside weekend walks either. It's worth noting though that they're sized quite small -- I'm usually a UK 10 but I found the 11s were a better fit -- so go for the size above when ordering.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the APL TechLoom Defenders here.
Aimed more at trail running than regular walking, these sneaker-like shoes are excellent for those of you that like to hike the forest trails at a faster pace. The shock-absorbing midsole is extremely comfortable on mixed terrain, while the deeper lugs of the Vibram sole provide plenty of traction, even in wet conditions.
They're light, too, meaning you can wear them for full-day trail walks without having to spend days nursing your aching feet afterwards.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V6 shoes here.
These boots get their name, Duality, from the two sets of insoles that come in the box. One is softer and designed more for comfortable city or gentle trail hikes. The other set is stiffer and more supportive, allowing you tackle more demanding terrain. The idea is that you don't need to carry two sets of boots on a long, mixed hike, but instead can simply swap the insoles as needed.
It's a neat idea that I can see working well. I tested them mostly with the softer footbed which I found comfortable, but still stiff enough to offer support on uneven terrain. They're fully waterproof too thanks to the Gore-Tex lining and are made from recycled materials and algae-based foam in the midsoles that reduces water use in production.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Haglofs Duality AT1 GT boots here.
True to the company name, these boots innovate through their use of graphene -- the atom-thick "miracle material" that's stronger than steel and lighter than carbon fiber. Here, it's been infused in the hiking boot sole which Inov-8 reckons makes it more durable and grippier. In my testing I certainly found the boots to be extremely capable on mixed walks, handling muddy trails, loose rocky terrain or wet asphalt with ease.
It's an exceptionally lightweight hiking boot too, making it as comfortable to wear as sneakers, right out of the box with no break-in required. You can walk all day in this hiking footwear without feeling weighed down, so they're definitely a hiking boot to consider if you plan on tackling long trails. While they have a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, they don't have the same ruggedness required for more mountainous and rough terrain, so if that's on the agenda then consider their more burly hiking boot siblings below.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX boots here.
With a classic, sleek leather profile, Timberland's Sprint Trekkers would absolutely not look out of place in most pubs, coffee shops, pizza places or endless queues for whatever street food pop-up has graced your neighborhood this month. But their grippy sole, mid-height ankle support and comfortable footbed means they're also perfectly capable of tackling more arduous trails as you head out of town.
I found them comfy and supportive on multi-mile walks around Edinburgh, including on the frequently wet cobbled roads and muddy riverside pathways. Better yet, they're made using leather from eco-conscious tanneries and materials made in part from recycled plastic.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Timberland Sprint Trekker boots here.
La Sportiva's Ultra Raptor II boots are sturdy and supportive while still feeling soft and light enough to remain comfortable on a full day hiking through the hills. The sole is grippy on loose gravel, wet grass and muddy trails while the waterproof GoreTex lining means they'll keep the worst of the rain at bay too.
I've found them to be great all-round hikers that I've loved having in the back of the car ready to tackle wherever I end up that day, from easy hikes around a gentle forest footpath to more strenuous, off-road hill climbs with a backpack full of photography gear.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots here.
I love the look of these adventure shoes, with their deep lugs protruding from the footbed and the white-brown-blue color combination on my test pair. They look great with jeans and are ideal for those urban exploration days when you know you'll end up at the bar with your friends. The sole -- as I found with others in the On range -- is exceptionally supportive and provides a rocking motion as you walk which seems to actively propel you forward making them great for faster hikes.
What I don't like is the elastic lacing that comes with them which seemed too loose for me and resulted in my foot slipping out, particularly when I walked with more pace. I replaced it with a set of regular laces for just a few dollars which I found made these boots feel much more secure and comfortable all round.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the On Shoes Cloud Hi Waterproof boots here.
With a tough outer fabric and more sturdy, grippy soles, the Trail shoes are better equipped for a life in the hills than the slipper-soft Allbirds Mizzle. But their merino wool lining and comfortable footbed makes them incredibly comfortable to wear, even on longer trail runs (or fast hikes, in my case). They're great on woodland trails and lakeside pathways but are just as good on city streets.
They're made with eco-conscious materials including merino wool, eucalyptus fiber, natural rubber, sugarcane and castor bean oil, while the shoelaces are made from recycled plastic bottles.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Allbirds Trail Runners here.
The Active #2147 boots have the same classic elastic-sided Chelsea profile Blundstone has been making since 1870. However the new Active series feature an updated midsole and footbed designed to give improved comfort and support on more active walks. The slip-on design and water-resistant materials makes them great to quickly throw on for local jaunts with the dog or lengthier trips to the pub.
Riverside footpaths, forest trails and gentle hillside tracks are all within reach of these boots, but their slip-on nature means they don't quite offer the support and stability for more strenuous hikes, especially on rocky or otherwise challenging terrain.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Blundstone Active #2147 boots here.
The Allbirds Runner-up Mizzle shoes are among the softest things I've had the pleasure of putting on my feet. This is thanks to their merino wool construction, which has the added benefit of making this lightweight boot an eco-friendly choice. The soft, spongy sole means these aren't shoes for tackling mountains, or even woodland trails, but they're a delightful walking boot for urban exploration, hopping between cafes and museums.
This hiking boot option is water-resistant, so an impromptu rain shower won't slow you down, while the incredible light weight of the shoes mean you'll be forgiven for thinking you've accidentally gone out in your slippers.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Allbirds Runner-up Mizzles here.
Although designed primarily for trail running, these light and comfortable shoes can make for great quick hikes both in town and further afield. I loved the comfort from the deep footbed and the grippy trail-running sole meant I felt stable and sure-footed on asphalt and gravel as well as grass, dirt tracks and lakeside trails.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the On Shoes Cloudultra shoes here.
On Shoes is a relative newcomer to the footwear scene and is more known for its trail running shoe models. The Cloudrock boots are its first foray into hiking boots, but this waterproof boot is a stellar first effort. The unique design of the soles, with their slight front-to-back curve and deep lugs make them extremely grippy on loose ground and gives the feeling that they're propelling you forward as you walk, making them great for fast-paced hikes.
Their mid-height gives plenty of ankle support too, and their light weight and out-of-the-box comfort means they're superb for all-day wearing. Their waterproof lining is effective enough for me to stand still, ankle-deep in a flowing stream for half a minute while taking a photo without any water penetrating to my feet.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the On Shoes Cloudrock Waterproof boots here.
Like the Cloudrock boots, the Cloudventure shoes feature the unique curving sole with deep lugs, making the shoes as supportive, stable and comfortable as their boot siblings. They have a more modern, style-led design than many other walking shoes on the market, which makes them ideal for those of you who want an all-day trail shoe that you won't feel the need to change out of this hiking shoe when you get to the pub at the end of your hike -- as long as they're not too caked in mud.
They're fully waterproof and their low weight means they're just as well-suited for a trail runner as they are for a fast-paced hiker.
Note: Women's version tested for this model.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Men's On Shoes Cloudventure Waterproof shoes here.
Winter walking boots
With a traditional all-leather design and burly rubber sole, Danner's Mountain Pass boots are built for serious hiking -- and built to last. This hiking boot option will require some "walking-in" before you'll want to take them on long hikes, but once they've settled to your feet you'll find them comfortable, secure and extremely stable on difficult terrain.
The Arctic Night versions also feature a thermal lining for added warmth in cold conditions, as well as a Vibram Arctic Grip sole for excellent traction on icy ground. They're Gore-Tex lined for waterproofing, too and are hand-built in Portland, Oregon.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Danner Mountain Pass Arctic Night boots here.
Danner's Jag Quilt boots are lined with a Primaloft insulation making them snug for cold-weather hikes. As a landscape photographer I loved having the support to hike to my destination but with the warmth to keep my toes warm while I stand still for ages waiting for my shot. The sole offers good grip on mixed terrain while the outer material is supportive enough for covering longer distances while remaining light and comfortable enough to throw on for quick trips to the shops.
I love the retro styling, reminiscent of the '80s and early '90s, with the brown and teal color scheme on my test model. It makes them suitable for pairing with jeans and wearing to the pub.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Danner Jag Quilt boots here.
The Timberland Solar Ridge boots have a stand-out style that I love. With the mix of traditional leather upper with the splashes of vivid yellow and rubber accents, they look like a futuristic take on the classic hiking boot. Their style makes them comfortable to wear around town, but the sturdy sole, waterproof build and supportive ankle mean they're well-suited to tackle much more rugged terrain.
Better yet, they include recycled plastic, responsibly sourced rubber and natural sugar cane in their production so they're an environmentally friendly choice too.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Timberland Solar Ridge GreenStride boots here.
How we test our hiking boots
Every pair of boots or shoes on this list has been tested by us, in real-world conditions. Nothing is based on specs alone, nor do we take any promises made by the marketing departments at face value. Each pair is assessed on its own merits and if it doesn't tick all our boxes it doesn't make the final cut.
Our footwear is tested in Scotland and, depending on the type of shoe, will experience a variety of terrains. Not all footwear is designed to tackle the mountains, so some items on this list are used more around the steep cobbled streets of Edinburgh, on parkland walks or gentle riverside trails, often finishing at the pub. The more burly additions to the list are tested more in their natural environment; hillside tracks and rugged, rocky passes.
Every pair gets a minimum of 15 miles usage (but usually much more) and Scotland's famously wet weather means that any claims for waterproofing are easy to put to the test.
We check that the boots are comfortable enough to wear all day without causing blisters, pains, or bruising, that they offer the support or grip they're supposed to and we check out for any signs of poor manufacturing -- such as loose stitching or glue that begins to come loose that could reduce the lifespan of the boots.
What to look for in a hiking boot or walking shoe
There's a vast amount of choice in the hiking footwear world, from burly, leather hiking boots designed to tackle steep mountain passes, through to lightweight shoes that are more at home on the Italian riviera. Finding the right pair for you then will involve thinking hard about what you need from your boots and where you're going to be taking them.
If you'll mostly be walking on gentle countryside tracks or carefully-groomed forest trails then a walking shoe (such as the Salewa Dropline GTX) might be a good fit; their lighter design makes them great for all-day wearing. If you're hitting more rocky terrain -- or if you simply prefer the additional ankle support -- then a mid-height boot (or higher) like the On Shoes Cloudrock or Inov Rocfly G 345 GTX will provide more stability and sure-footedness.
Keep the time of year and weather in mind too; some boots (like the Danner Mountain Pass Arctic Night) come with thermal linings and soles designed for snow and ice, while others (like the Erem XeroCole) are designed for breathability and comfort in hot conditions, like hiking the Arizona Trail.
While historically most hiking boots were made from leather, it's more common to find boots made from synthetic fabrics today. These can be lighter and more comfortable to wear (along with being easier to care for), but can still offer superb support for even strenuous, multi-day hikes. Leather boots are still widely available however and companies like Danner produce excellent classic-looking leather boots that are comfortable and supportive on long-distance journeys.
If you're likely to be hiking in wet conditions then look out for either Gore-Tex linings, or other 'own-brand' waterproof linings that the manufacturer might use. Keep in mind that "waterproof" in boots rarely means 'submersible' so don't expect to stand in a river all day doing some fishing, expecting to keep the water out.
Finally, make sure you have the right fit. Some boots (like the Hanwag Tatra Wide) are designed specifically for those of you with a wider foot shape who might have struggled to find comfortable boots elsewhere. Most manufacturers tend to offer sizing guidance ("Fits true to size" or "Fits small") on their websites, so keep that in mind when considering the fit.
More for people hitting the trails
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.