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!).
Latest update: April 2020
Where to buy your walking boots?
I checked out latest prices at a range of places. Sports Shoes almost always came out cheapest. Cotswold wasn’t bad, but brands and sizes were very limited. And I’ve 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?
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.
First, though, 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 – £50 and under
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
My choice from Regatta is the Edgepoint hiking boot, for both men and women.
A super boot for the price (under £50), with good grips and support. Waterproof and weighing less than 400g too. You might want to go up half a size to accommodate socks or an insole.
Walking boots – around £80
Columbia walking boots
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.
Merrell walking boots
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 £65.
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.
Walking boots – around £100
Keen’s Clearwater sandals (and now the fabulous Keen Evo sandal range) 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.
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!
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.
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.
Walking boots – around £150 and upwards
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.
Hoka One hiking boots
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, for around £65 for both men and women.
If you prefer high-tech and fell-running stability, then the Inov8 range is what you need.
Got a favourite pair of walking boots or shoes? Do let us know and we’ll add them to our list.
And if you’re looking for stylish trail-to-town sandals that you can actually walk in…have a look at these.
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.