Best Walking Boots Reviewed & Rated

Good walking shoes or boots can make or break your adventure. Depending on where you are walking or hiking, and in what conditions, there are a variety of choices out there. There is a boot that is just right for what you need.

Last Updated: January 13, 2018
By Darcy G:

The recent update shows the criteria used to evaluate walking boots as well as information about the types of materials used to construct this type of boot. How to clean your boots and the sources used for research is also included in this update.

Featured Recommendations

Merrell Moab Vent
  • Merrell Moab Vent
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Air Cushion midsole
  • Price: See Here
Timberland White Ledge
  • Timberland White Ledge
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Multidirectional traction lugs
  • Price: See Here
Keen Targhee II
  • Keen Targhee II
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Breathable waterproof membrane
  • Price: See Here

Remember that leather boots are typically waterproof and durable but are typically a little heavier than textile boots. Textile boots are very breathable but have limited waterproofing capabilities without reinforcement.

As you look at the 10 Best, think about where your boots will take you. Will you be tromping through streams and snow? If so consider something with enough room for a good pair of boot socks and has maximum in waterproofing features. Or if you are backpacking, you want something that is very durable with a thicker, stiffer sole and good traction.

 

10 Best Walking Boots

 

1. Merrell Moab Ventilator

This hiking shoe is perfect for summer hiking and walking trails. With a breathable mesh lining and a foam tongue to keep out dirt and debris, these are top of the line for comfort and function. A cushioned heel absorbs shock as you walk, and the midsole adds to your comfort. Plus being able to wear these shoes out of the box with little to no break-in period means you can start your adventure right away.
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Comfort
The Moab Ventilator has excellent cushioning and firm ankle support. The lugs on the sole are carefully placed for maximum flexibility. And a rubber toe bumper keeps your toes from those unexpected knocks when hiking.

Fresh Factor
Anyone who has been hiking for a while knows that there is a certain odor coming from your shoes at the end of the day. The Moab Ventilator has the M Select Fresh feature that keeps your shoes smelling better.

Cost and Value
This shoe is in the middle of the pack for the price point. These shows are a great deal given the moderate price, comfort and support that they provide.
Pros
  • Firm ankle support and lug placement for stability
  • Rubber toe bumper to protect your toes
  • Mesh upper keeps feet cool
  • Cushioned midsole and rubber outsole for comfort
  • Little to no break in period
Cons
  • Some say runs a little small

2. Timberland White Ledge

This rugged hiking boot looks great with a full-grain, waterproof leather. The Timberland White Ledge keeps your feet dry even when it’s wet and muddy with its seam sealed upper. And the excellent traction provided by Timberland's Brake, Support, Flex and Propel (B.S.F.P) system and multi-directional lugs give you stable footing on those trails.
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Waterproof
The waterproof leather and sealed seams on the White Ledge keep your feet dry from outside moisture. And the perforated EVA footbed wicks away moisture on the inside and allows air to circulate.

Comfort
The padded tongue and collar on this boot protect your ankles while giving you the support you need. An EVA footbed and midsole provides cushioning and comfort on your hiking journey. And specially placed flex grooves work with your natural stepping motion.

Cost and Value
In the medium range for this top 10 list, the White Ledge is a good value for a comfortable waterproof boot. Different colors and sizes cost more, so decide what you want and what fits your budget if this is the boot for you.
Pros
  • Weather-resistant leather
  • Excellent traction features
  • Great fit
  • Little to no break-in period
  • Sturdy support
Cons

Some say runs narrow

3. Keen Targhee II

This boot has the signature wide toe that Keen is known for so your toes are comfortable during your hike. The Keen Dry technology brings you a breathable membrane to keep your feet cool. Plus the Targhee II has a special footbed design and first-rate arch support for all-day comfort. And the rubber outsole has ground-gripping lugs to keep you stable on the rougher ground.
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Comfortable
And in this case, comfort includes little to no break-in period. The ability to wear and hike in the Targhee II is a big plus for these boots. And the internal footbed is designed to work with the natural contours of your foot, so you can be sure of a comfortable ride.

Waterproof
When you are looking for a quality boot that keeps your feet dry, you will want to try the Targhee II. The upper is waterproof to keep out the moisture, while the Keen Dry membrane vents the moisture inside your boot.

Cost and Value
The Targhee II tops the list for the cost. It's exceptional features like waterproofing, stability, durability and comfort make it a good value. So if those features top your list, this is the boot for you.
Pros
  • Waterproof leather keeps feet dry
  • Breathable membrane lets moisture escape
  • Wide toe cap for extra wiggle room
  • Special lacing system for a comfort fit
  • Little to no break-in period
Cons
  • Price

4. Ahnu Sugarpine

4. Ahnu Sugarpine
The first thing you notice about these boots are the many colors available. That aside, Ahnu Sugarpine has all of the features that you look for in a good boot. Waterproof features with a snug fit to keep you stable on the trails. A rubber sole with padded collar and padded, gusseted tongue to keep your feet comfy.
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Stability
These boots have a taller shaft to increase ankle support and stability. The Vibram outsole and sturdy lugs to keep you stable on the trail. The heel clip and rubber toe protector add to this the stability.

Comfort
The little to no break-in time speaks to the comfort of these boots. The Sugarpine also as has a waterproof breathable membrane and moisture-wicking lining to keep your feet dry. The EVA midsole and removable insole give you cushy comfort.

Cost and Value
The Sugarpine is in the medium-priced range for this list. These boots are a good value for the price. And you might even find some sales on select sizes and color.
Pros
  • Great colors
  • Tall shaft for ankle support
  • Lightweight
  • Little to no break-in period
  • Waterproof
Cons
  • Some say runs small

5. Columbia Newton Ridge Plus

5. Columbia Newton Ridge Plus
Be confident in your next adventure with the Newton Ridge Plus. A waterproof membrane keeps your feet dry from those damp trails. The suede and leather upper stands up against rough conditions while the mesh tongue give you the airflow you need on the trail. Enjoy a snug fit with Columbia’s proprietary Techlight mesh tongue and d-ring/speed lace hook lacing system.
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Super Grip
Stay firm on the trail with this boot’s omni-directional gripping lugs. Great for most terrains, these boots take you on dirt, rock, and mud. You’ll appreciate the extra traction when you need it.

Exceptional Cushioning
The Newton Ridge Plus has Columbia’s Techlite technology to give you a comfy ride. The lightweight midsole cushions your stride against impact. Plus, it has a high energy return to keep you going.

Cost and Value
On the lower end of the price scale for this top-ten list, these boots are good value for your money. With waterproof features and long lasting durability, these boots keep you on the trail.
Pros
  • Superior Traction
  • Excellent Durability
  • Cozy Warmth
  • Keeps Feet Dry
  • Flexible
Cons
  • Limited Colors

6. Salomon X Ultra

6. Salomon X Ultra
This boot is built with running shoe technology, so you get a great fit when hiking those trails. Salomon put a lot of thought into creating a waterproof boot to keep your feet dry. Gore-Tex material protects your feet from water and mud. And many gripping lugs keep you stable on the rough terrain.
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Stability
With a snug fit and sturdy construction, these boots maintain control when you need it most. The mid-height upper gives you great ankle support. The advanced chassis on the X Ultra provide even more stability and Contagrip traction helps you keep your footing.

Waterproof
Gor-Tex provides reliable waterproofing for the Ultra X. The improved construction provides flexibility for your ride. And the lightweight materials keep you going all day.

Cost and Value
As one of the higher priced boots on this list, you get a fantastic pair of boots that keep your feet dry. And they are known for their durability, so your investment lasts longer. Great value if you get them on sale for the features you get.
Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Stability
  • Lightweight
  • Protective toe cap
  • Top speed hook closures
Cons
  • Some say run small

7. Ariat Terrain H2O

7. Ariat Terrain H2O
These quality-made leather boots have the comfort features you look for in footwear. The footbed has many details built to keep your feet comfortable. The gel-cushioning absorbs shock to reduce the impact, the cupped feature provides a great fit and stability, and moisture-wicking material keeps your feet cool and dry.
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More Comfort
To carry on with the comfort features, a moisture-wicking lining adds to the features that keep your feet dry. And cushioned collar keeps your ankles from feeling too much friction.

Rugged
The Terrain’s well-constructed leather upper and Duratread outsole keep these boots going so you can keep going too. And the waterproof technology keeps your feet dry in wet conditions.

Cost and Value
The Ariat Terrain H2O is on the lower end of the price range for this list. This boot is a good value for the price. Your feet will stay comfortable and dry in this boot.
Pros
  • Ultimate comfort
  • Well constructed
  • Waterproof
  • Built to reduce foot fatigue
Cons
  • Some break-in time required

8. Vasque Mantra 2.0

8. Vasque Mantra 2.0
If you are looking for a lower profile walking shoe, the Mantra 2.0 might just be the one you need. It has Vibram Nuasi outsoles that you can count on for durability. The dual-density footbed and speed lacing system give you a good fit and notable comfort. And the padded tongue and collar add to your comfort. Plus these walking shoes have a straighter lined last, so may work well if you have flat feet. Note that the version reviewed is not waterproof, but Vasque makes a GTX version of the Mantra 2.0 if you need something that keeps your feet dry in wet conditions.
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Long Distance in Mind
The wider toe box in the Mantra 2.0 keeps your toes comfortable and allows for the swelling that happens to all of us when on our feet for a long period of time. Plus the Vibram Nuasi outsole is a name you can count on for durability.

Secure Fit
Get a great fit with the Matra 2.0. The lower heel and special instep keep the shoe snug against your foot. And the lacing system with speed hooks at the top means you can adjust the laces for your comfort.

Cost and Value
The Mantra 2.0 is on the medium priced range on this list. You get a lower profile hiking shoe of high quality and solid durability. If you don't mind a limited selection of colors, this shoe is a great value for your money.
Pros
  • May work well if you have flatter feet
  • Lower profile with stability features
  • Perpetuum last and wide toe box
  • Great durability
  • Heel pull makes them easier to get on
Cons
  • May run narrow

9. Keen Durand

9. Keen Durand
Assembled in Portland Oregon with materials from around the world, the Durand gives dry feet and comfort in the Durand. The taller upper has a breathable, waterproof membrane that lets moisture out without letting water in. The removable footbed lets you replace it if you need additional arch support. Plus the midsole is directly attached to improve comfort.
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Long Lasting Comfort
Keen attaches the PU insole directly to the booth to help absorb shock and keep your feet comfortable. The outer soles are flexible to move with your foot to give you additional comfort. A plush collar and tongue and collar keep your feet comfortable, and the rubber toe cap protects your toes from those bumps along the way.

Waterproof
This boot has Keens proprietary waterproofing technology to keep water out of the boot. The leather upper has a breathable, waterproof lining to vent moisture from inside the boot. This means dryer feet all around.

Cost and Value
The Durand is one of the higher priced boots on this list. For their long-lasting durability and comfort, these boots give you a good value.
Pros
  • Breathable, waterproof technology
  • Comfortable features
  • Taller shaft for ankle support
  • Lighter weight
  • Constructed in the USA
Cons
  • May run small

10. Adidas Terrex Swift R

10. Adidas Terrex Swift R
This lightweight walking shoe is great for trail hiking and walking. Built like an athletic shoe with sturdy lugs, this shoe keeps you stable on basic terrain and still lets you go fast. The ultra-light shoe provides you with a waterproof experience with it's Gore-Tex lining; and proprietary inserts absorb shock and keep your feet comfy.
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Lightweight
Adidas got it right with the lightweight technology on this hiking shoe. Extra attention to the EVA midsole makes it comfortable and light too. Plus the textile upper adds to the lightweight composition of this shoe.

Support
These shows have great ankle support and decent arch support to give you a solid step on your hikes. And if you like the speed lacing feature, this shoe is for you. The locking mechanism lets you tighten or loosen the laces to give you the right fit.

Cost and Value
The Terrex Swift R is in the medium priced range of footwear for this list. It is a good value with great traction and Gore-Tex waterproofing.
Pros
  • Waterproof technology
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Solid support
  • Molded sock liner for comfort
  • Good fit
Cons
  • Some say runs small

After looking at this list, you can see there really is something for everyone when shopping for walking boots. When you are looking at walking shoes or boots, here are a few tips to think about.

Think about where you will wear your walking boots. Will you be tromping through streams and snow? If so consider something with enough room for a good pair of boot socks and has maximum in waterproofing features. Or if you are backpacking, you want something that is very durable with a thicker, stiffer sole and good traction.

Ensure they fit properly around your ankle and heel. Also, make sure you leave adequate space to move your toes without too much restriction. Tight spots will rub and lead to nasty blisters if neglected, but on the other hand, big gaps generally mean a less stable hold.

And remember that your feet swell when you are on them for a while, and especially when you are walking and hiking. If the are too snug when you try them on, they will likely be too snug on your walk. Some experts recommend trying on boots and shoes at the end of the day when your feet may already be a little swollen.  

An option is wearing a sock that is more thick than usual with a boot that is too big. A boot that is not big enough will never be able to fit you correctly. Make sure your boot fits well before buying and starting on your great adventure.

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Walking Boots

A Good Fit

Part of finding a comfortable boot is making sure your boots fit correctly. If your boots don’t fit correctly, you will be uncomfortable for your whole walk or hike. Plus, you may end up with hot spots, blisters or other foot-related injuries like plantar fasciitis.

Everyone’s feet are different. No one likes a tight toe box or heels that slip too much, especially in the middle of a hike. When you try on boots, make sure they are the right fit for your feet. You should have enough space for your toes to move around and splay when you walk. And pay attention to the length. Your heel shouldn’t slip much when you walk. If they do, try another size or brand.
Be sure to have a snug fit on the sides of the boot too. If your boots are too narrow, you will feel pinching and will likely get blisters. If they are too wide, you may lose the stability that you need when walking up and down inclines or over rough terrain.

 

Cushioning and Comfort

Having a good, shock absorbing midsole and insole make the difference between an OK day and a great day. The most comfortable boots have a cushioning insole and midsole. Different brands have different types of cushioning, such as EVA, PU, get or an in-house proprietary material. Plus, some boots have removable insoles that let you choose something more suited to your foot. Other comfort features keep you stable. A cushioned tongue and a padded collar around the ankle keep your boots secure. And a good lacing system will keep your feet snug and comfortable.

 

Waterproof and Breathable

Sometimes you need a waterproof boot and sometimes you don’t. If you are out in the morning walking through dewy grasses and fields, you want some protection to keep your feet dry. And if you know you will be walking in wet conditions, a waterproof boot is key to your comfort. From the well-known, trusted Gore-Tex product to a variety of proprietary waterproofing technologies, most walking and hiking boots have waterproof protection. If they don’t, they probably offer the option of the same boot in a waterproof variation.

It is also important that your boots have some ventilation so your feet can breathe. Your feet sweat. Everyone’s feet sweat. So to keep your feet comfortable and dry, your boots need to allow for some airflow in and out of the boot. Look for boots that have a breathable membrane or bootie. Mesh panels also help to let moisture escape from your boots.

 

Frequently Asked Question

 

What material is best for walking boots?

Walking boots are made of full-grain or nubuck leather, synthetic materials, or a combination of both. Leather is extremely durable and will hold up to rough conditions. It is also naturally resistant to water. Leather will typically keep your feet warmer than synthetic materials but is heavier than synthetic materials. Leather boots will take longer to break in than nubuck or synthetic materials.

Nubuck leather is usually lighter and is more flexible and breathable than full-grain leather. It is also water-resistant. Nubuck is less durable than full-grained leather but more durable than synthetic materials. Some break-in time may be required.

Synthetic materials typically used for walking boots are nylon and polyester. Often, these are used in combination with suede. Synthetic materials are lighter-weight than leather. Walking boots of synthetic materials typically have mesh panels for breathability. And this type of walking boot usually has little to no break-in period.

How should I care for my boots?

After every walk, wipe down your boots with a soft, damp cloth. Also occasionally wipe down or carefully rinse the inside of your boots with lukewarm water. For caked on mud and grime on the outside of your boots, you may need to rinse them with water. Remove laces and insoles if necessary and try not to get the mid-soles too wet. You can also rinse the laces and insoles as needed.

Air dry your boots for the best results. Too much heat might harden your boots or crack the leather. Try stuffing the inside with newspapers or paper towels to absorb excess water. You can change the paper as needed.

When your boots are completely dry, condition and apply waterproofing to leather boots. Synthetic boots should also be waterproofed to help keep out moisture. Proper care will extend the life of your boots so you can enjoy them on many walks to come.

Sources

amc-outdoors, hiking-footwear-101

backpacker, gear-choosing-the-right-pair-of-hiking-boots

gear guy, how-do-i-take-care-my-hiking-boots

coolhikinggear, leather-vs-synthetic-hiking-boots-which-is-better