For 10 years, I tramped around in a pair of Brasher Supalite GTX boots. They were as comfortable as socks, gripped the ground and weighed less than a kilo. Finally, the soles wore down and the hunt was on for the best lightweight, waterproof boots.
Here’s what I’d recommend (and suggestions for the guys too!).
Where to buy your walking boots?
I checked out latest prices at a range of places.
Decathlon was an eye-opener. A huge range for men and women, virtually nothing over £55 and some really interesting lightweight styles.
Sports Shoes almost always came out cheapest, and is the best for choice if you’re not put off by leather.
Cotswold wasn’t bad, but brands and sizes were very limited. When they do have them, though, there are often special offers.
I’ve also linked to Amazon on some where there are bargains to be had, especially on previous season models. Apologies if prices change…that’s what they do!
Obvious answer…another pair of Supalites?
The new Berghaus branded Supalite II GTX.
And that’s what I initially went for. Trouble is, Brasher is now Berghaus and, although the boots looked identical, they weren’t.
They felt stiffer (my old ones were soft right from the start), but the main problem was the sole. The lugs are fairly small and the sole material is pretty dangerous in the wet. I slipped on rocks, roads and tree roots at every step.
Such a shame. Maybe I had an unlucky pair, but I’ve since read reviews from people who say the same. So, what to buy instead…
I’ve tested boots at every price, preferring textile over leather for instant wearability, for lightness and to be kinder to cows.
A couple of tips
- Try them on with summer and winter hiking socks to make sure they really are the right size.
- You should be able to wiggle your toes, but your foot shouldn’t move forwards or side to side.
- Check that the height of the collar doesn’t catch right under your ankle bone because there’s not a lot you can do to make that feel better.
- Good padding around the collar helps.
- Check the lacing. I prefer speed laces because I’m lazy, but these are something you can always get later and add to your new boots.
Walking boots – Entry Level
Walking boots – Mid Range
One of our team swears by her Aspect Extreme boots, they are not as hi on the ankle as many boots are and are not as low as some of the trainer style boots. Amazing grips on the bottom and comes in a couple of colours, she went for a size up to fit thick socks on! Very comfy to wear and fully waterproof.
Sadly, Hi-Tec use some suede in most of their range, so these won’t work for me, but they are VERY affordable and fairly lightweight in a good range of muted colours too.
The Hi-Tec Storm boots are a snug fit, but feel as if they’re holding your foot well. Prices vary from around £35 to £60ish.
Lugs are multi-directional for better grip and the boots are properly waterproof too. Styles for both men and women
OUR TOP PICK
My choice from Regatta is the Edgepoint hiking boot, for both men and women.
A good choice if you want to avoid suede and leather (even on trims). However, we’ve heard from a disappointed reader who found these weren’t as waterproof as she’d hoped. Regatta say they’re water repellent.
A super boot for the price, with good grips and support. They weigh less than 400g too. You might want to go up half a size to accommodate socks or an insole.
Masses of other styles to choose from and often some bargains to be had.
These Decathlon FH900 boots are a sort of running shoes and hiking boot hybrid. They’re extraordinarily light and the elasticated ankle cuff makes them comfortable and snug.
Not for the worst weather conditions, but if you want a fast walk on a track with surefootedness, these are a great option. Around £80.
The Columbia Redmond Mid is almost a shoe and almost a boot, so it’s a bit more streamlined than many full boots. The upper is a mix of suede, mesh and webbing, but is fully waterproof. The sole is good and grippy and weight is just over 600g.
The women’s Redmond do come up small, so you may need to get a size or even a size and a half bigger. I take a 6.5 in UK sizes and the 7.5 was snug. Great that there are half sizes, by the way. The men’s Redmond are quite streamlined for a tough walking boot.
For men, it’s the Explore – a fantastic lightweight boot for well under £100. These are high boots, so the cuff should be well above your ankle bone and there’s plenty of padding.
Keen’s Clearwater sandals have long been our favourite summer walking shoes for men and women, so it was good to find boots that did the job for bad weather too.
I really like the Keen Terradora range for women, and the previous versions of these are still available and more affordable.
Keen’s Terradora boots range for women.
These boots are superlight, waterproof, of course, and good on grip, though the sole isn’t as deeply lugged as others we’ve tried. Some good colour choices to suit us grey-loving girls and the brighter type!
Just 415g in a size 8, the Terrex boots are good on all types of ground thanks to a rugged, grippy sole.
The boots have Goretex and Continental rubber in their make-up and are a comfortable fit providing you go at least half a size up.
Terrex offers a wide range with boots, shoes, masses of refinements and a choice of colours.
Walking boots – High End
Haglöfs have worked really hard to create a truly lightweight walking boot by taking away as many grams as possible without compromising comfort and durability. The first thing I noticed when putting on these boots was the insole, there is some great support on the arch of your foot which I assume is down to the gel rear foot cushioning which is there to help provide shock absorption. These boots have a rubber toe and heel. After a 5 mile walk I realised the grips are also really great. These boots really do hug your foot and feel great to walk in without being big and bulky, they are a really nice sleek design. A little more money than some others but you can really see why in the quality and lightness. They come in a range of colours and in Mens and Ladies
What a great find. Inov8 is more associated with trail and fell running, but they also do a range of very lightweight, comfortable and waterproof boots for men and women. Brilliant grip too.
I went for the Roclite 325 and paid around £85 for them. There are men’s versions too. Stock on these is running down now, so the alternative is the G345 – a Goretex boot with great grip too. A bit more expensive, though, at around £125.
There’s a good range at Sports Shoes. Remember to go up a size.
Lots to choose from, but few non-leather options. We do love the MQM Flex boots for men and women.
Lots of arch support and a good traction sole to keep you grounded. The MQM’s are a great walking/trail-running hybrid with a sole that lets your foot bend naturally.
I went for the boot-length, but there are shoe versions too. From around £115, but some discounts on occasion.
Our friend Rose loves her Oboz hiking boots, so a quick mention of those too. You’ll either love or hate the ‘sawtooth’ design, but she says they’re super-comfortable and she does a LOT of walking.
Not for us as they’re all leather, but these are boots for serious walkers (smiling allowed!)
The Bridger and Sawtooth come as low, high and full height styles and for men and women. They have fantastically grippy soles. From around £120 to £250.
Breathable, mega-grippy and unique designs…that’s Hoka One. Plus, if you buy from the previous season you could get a £150 pair of boots for under £90 (apologies if stock disappears!).
For men and women, our choice would be the Sky Toa boot with its all-synthetic upper and Vibram sole.
I think I’ve now found the ultimate pair – the Adidas Terrex AX3 trail shoe, from around £65 for both men and women.
If you prefer high-tech and fell-running stability, then the Inov8 range is what you need.
Looking for Walking Sandals? Check out our Best Summer Walking Sandals
Viewranger is a very highly thought of UK-based app that uses OS, trail guides and other reliable sources and has a professional feel to it. In fact, it’s used by search and rescue teams.
You simply buy the area maps you need or a package. The Lake District, for example, costs £25. There are worldwide map options too.
The basic app is free, and you can then buy areas or map credit. Lots of functions, works with no phone signal and check out the great skyline feature.