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 under what conditions, there are a variety of choices out there. There is a boot that is just right for what you need.
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.

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By NicoleH:

Our most recent 2018 update includes a few new brands and models. Our top ten items were selected on newer reviews, boot stability, function, and cushioning as well as performance off road, and if the boot has versatility to be worn in a casual street setting as well. Check the criteria section for ideas on how to select the best pair for your needs.

Featured Recommendations

Ahnu Sugarpine
  • Ahnu Sugarpine
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • No Break-In Required
  • Padded Collar
  • Price: See Here
Keen Targhee 2
  • Keen Targhee 2
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Waterproof Construction
  • Wide Toe Cap
  • Price: See Here
Columbia Ridge Newton Plus
  • Columbia Ridge Newton Plus
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Superior Traction
  • Excellent Shock Absorption
  • Price: See Here

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 the maximum in waterproofing features. Or if you are backpacking, you want something that is very durable with a thicker, stiffer sole and good traction. If you’re just going to be walking around town, consider something with a breathable, textile design.

 

10 Best Walking Boots

 

1. 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 plush, 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 balanced on the trail. The heel clip and rubber toe protector add to this stability and durability, protecting your steps along the way.

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. An EVA midsole and removable insole give you cushy comfort and the option for custom orthotics.

Cost and Value
The Sugarpine is in the medium-priced range for this list. These boots are a good value for the price, especially considering the room for custom orthotics, support, stability, and technical aspects. With the bright color options available, you're able to take your unique style on the trail with you!
Pros

Padded Collar for Comfort

Tall Shaft For ankle support

Lightweight

Little To No Break-In Period

Waterproof

Cons

Can Run Small

2. 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
Sometimes with comfort features in boots, it may take a bit of break-in to mold the boot to your foot, but with the Targhee, 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. 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, preventing damp boots that could potentially promote bacterial growth.

Cost and Value
The Targhee II is averagely priced to many on our list here. It's exceptional features like waterproofing, stability, durability, and comfort make it a good value for the investment. So if those features top your list, and you’re looking for a solid boot without hurting your wallet, this is the boot for you.
Pros

Waterproof Leather

Breathable Membrane

Wide Toe Cap

Special Lacing System

Little To No Break-In Period

Cons

Expensive

3. 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 abrasions while the mesh tongue gives 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 omnidirectional gripping lugs. Great for most terrains, these boots take you on dirt, rock, and mud, without fear of slipping or injury. You’ll appreciate the extra traction when you need it most during damp trail conditions or scrambles.

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 going on the trail, and ready to tackle the next off-road challenge
Pros

Superior Traction

Excellent Durability

Keeps Feet Dry

Flexible

Waterproof Membrane

Cons

Water Resistance May Fade Over Time

4. KEEN Voyageur

4. KEEN Voyageur
Keen is one of the top performers when it comes to a quality hiking boot, whether the wearer intends to go 20 miles or down the street for errands. The Keen Voyageur is an exposed ankle boot for those who prefer more freedom of movement but still keeps the quality Keen is known for intact. A rugged sole with multidirectional lugs will keep traction maximized in any kind of weather.
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Mid-Height Boot
The Voyageur is designed with an exposed ankle, mid-height quality, but doesn’t lack the support needed for traversing over rugged terrain. The waterproof leather and mesh uppers allow a breathable, comfortable journey, ready for the occasional stream crossing or rock hopping. EVA molded foam footbed will keep you cushioned and supported during your trek, and ready for the next mile.

Sole
Keen’s rugged sole on the Voyageur is created with multidirectional lugs to provide the ultimate in traction for when you encounter scrambles and a patented toe cap for protection against the occasional trip. And to keep you firmly in the boot, the lace-up is designed to maximize your comfort and keep you secure, and with an easy pull-on loop found on the heel and tongue, you won’t have to struggle to pull off the boot after a long hike.

Cost and Value
Similar to other boots found here, it’s comparable in price to many top-notch brands and styles. If you’re looking for something with a bit more freedom around the ankle, a mid-height boot may be the way to go, and Keen’s Voyageur has you covered. Made to outlast the terrain, and get you to the next mile marker, the Voyageur is a great option to consider.
Pros

Toe Cap

Ventilated

Rugged Sole

Mid Height Boot

Multidirectional Lugs

Cons

Lace Loops Can Wear Out Over Time

5. Vasque Juxt Multi-Sport

5. Vasque Juxt Multi-Sport
Last on our list is the Vasque Juxt Multi-Sport. If you’re not familiar with the brand, it’s one of those you’ll soon know as they’ve been trekking the outdoors since 1964. They’ve gained in popularity base on its versatility, style, and technical composure. This shoe was made for those who ‘do-anything’, ‘go-anywhere’, and it’s easy to see why. This boot was made for hitting the treks with technical or agility required sections with its athletic fit, but also to stand the test of time off the trail and on the road.
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Technical
Designed with the athlete and outdoor lover in mind, this boot was made to support and be flexible for a custom fit. The TPU plate found in the midsole helps support your foot and is perfect for those with high arches. EVA molded footbed helps cushion you for long-lasting wear. And, if you’re worried about fit, fret no more; the lacing system on this boot makes it exceptionally adjustable to your unique preference.

Sole
Vasque’s patented Off The Grid sole lives up to its name, with rugged lug design to give traction on all sorts of terrain. A rubber toe cap helps protect you against stubbing, and the approach-like overall design of the shoe allows agility when you need to rock hop across boulder fields. Lighter weight than many hiking boots, this one is perfect for day hikes or strolls where you hop off the trail and straight to happy hour.

Cost and Value
The Juxt Multi-Sport from Vasque comes at a budget-friendly price for a hiking boot, and with its versatility and agile design, it’s well suited for those day hikers looking to quickly get in 10-15 miles. Well constructed for support and comfort, the TPU plate is ideal for those with high arches looking for a hiking boot as well. With its tunable laces, rugged sole, and great styling, the Juxt Multi-Sport is a solid investment for anyone’s next outdoor adventure!
Pros

Rubber Toe Cap

Rugged Sole

Agile

TPU Plate Support

Versatile

Cons

Sizing May Vary

6. Ahnu Montara

6. Ahnu Montara
Ahnu does it again with their Montara Boot, making our top ten list twice. This funky little boot comes in various hues to keep your style quirky and unique but doesn’t skimp on the comfort and ruggedness you’d expect from a boot. Comfortable uppers come padded for comfort, and breathability can be found in the tongue of the shoe. Great for hikers or casual strolls alike!
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Comfortable Style
Any avid hiker will tell you that going over 10 miles in boots that aren’t padded with some sort of cushion is going to result in blisters, sore feet, and a poor experience. The Ahnu Montara comes with padded tongue and collar to help cushion your ankle and exposed areas of skin when walking. It also features Ahnu Numentu HIKE technology, which helps align the foot to the center, helping promote proper walking gait and balance.

Tech Specs
The Montara was made for city street to hiking trails with a waterproof design, nylon mesh quarters for ventilation, and a lace and hook closure, but also comes in a variety of funky colors to add style to technology. Vibram soles are well known for their sticky traction and durability on uneven terrain, and the Montara sports this proudly in the outsole, and a rubber toe and heel for added protection.

Cost and Value
Compared to other hiking boots, the Ahnu Montara is averagely priced, and well worth the money spent on its quirky color styles, and solid technology construction. This boot is perfect for those looking for something versatile they can wear on the trails, but also on the streets as a casual boot.
Pros

Padded Tongue And Collar

Vibram Sole

Stability

Cushioned

Numentu HIKE technology

Cons

Not Fully Waterproof

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, such as the gel-cushioning to absorb shock and reduce impact. The cupped feature provides a great fit and overall stability, and a moisture-wicking lining 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 a cushioned collar keeps your ankles from feeling too much friction. Ideal for tackling the next few miles to the campsite without leaving your feet sore for the following morning’s efforts.

Rugged
The Terrain’s well-constructed leather upper and Duratread outsole keep these boots going so you can keep going too. It’s tough against the elements as well, with its waterproof technology to help keep your feet dry in wet conditions, or the occasional stream crossing.

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, especially with its waterproof design and functional comfort technology. Perfect for those looking to hit longer days on the trail in comfort.
Pros

Durable Leather Upper

Waterproof

Padded Collar

Dura Tread Outsole

Cons

Not For Wide Feet

8. Merrell Moab Vent

8. Merrell Moab Vent
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 with its EVA footbed, and cushioned midsole padded with air. Firm ankle support can be adjusted based on how tight you choose to lace the boot. The lugs on the sole are carefully placed for maximum flexibility while delivering superior traction. And a rubber toe bumper keeps your toes from those unexpected knocks when hiking.

Ventilation
Anyone who has been hiking for a while knows that damp boots end of the day can mean the rest of your journey could be uncomfortable. The Moab Ventilator has the M Select Fresh feature that keeps your shoes smelling better, but also helps dry out your boots. Rest assured blistering will be kept at a minimum throughout their wear.

Cost and Value
This shoe is in the middle of the pack for the price point but tops our list with its brand name reputation, solid construction, ventilation, and durability. These boots are a great deal given the moderate price, comfort, and support that they provide. For those looking to start their outdoor adventuring, or for veterans alike, it’s a solid investment.
Pros

Firm Ankle Support

Rubber Toe Bumper

Mesh Upper Keeps Feet Cool

Cushioned Midsole

Little To No Break-In Period

Cons

No Waterproofing

9. Salomon X Ultra

9. 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, without feeling overwhelming. 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 trek. Lightweight materials keep you going all day, and long into the night if needed. No more fretting over damp boots for the next morning’s mileage!

Cost and Value
As one of the higher priced boots on this list, you get a fantastic pair of boots that keep your feet from feeling damp or sore. Salomon is known for their quality and durability, and you can bet this investment will last you a lifetime. Those looking for waterproof, abrasion proof, and lightweight boots can’t lose with this purchase, especially if you catch them on sale!
Pros

Waterproof

Stable Outsole

Lightweight

Protective Toe Cap

Top Hook Closures

Cons

Can Run Small

10. Timberland White Ledge

10. 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

Perforated Footbed For Breathability

Little To No Break-In Period

Sturdy Support

Cons

Not For Wide Feet

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 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 they 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 be comfortable 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.

 

Breathability and Waterproofing

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. Breathability will also help prevent painful blisters from forming, and mitigate odor on longer walks.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What material is best for walking boots?
A: 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. Synthetic materials, however, may not offer the same water-resistance as leather boots will.

Q: How should I care for my boots?
A: 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.

Q: Do I need to spend a lot of money to ensure I’m getting quality boots?
A: 
Yes and no. When it comes to footwear, the price can either be an indicator of quality, branding, or both. While it may be tempting to spend as little as possible on a pair of boots, know that the overall quality may be lacking.  In this case, the boots can fit very poorly, become uncomfortable quickly, or break down faster than expected, requiring you to purchase another pair. This is why we suggest sticking with reputable brands you know and are familiar with. you may spend more up front, but in reality, you could save money, as high-quality boots won’t break down as quickly.

That being said, an incredibly high price tag does not always mean an incredibly high-quality product. Some boots may be more expensive simply because of the brand. Kind of like how a designer bag may cost twice as much as their non-designer counterparts, but can still serve the same purpose and offer the same features and durability.

While price is definitely a factor you should consider, other qualities such as fit and durability are more important than the price tag. This is why we’ve outlined the most important things you should consider before you make your purchase.

Q: How long should it take to break in a new pair of boots?
A: Breaking in a pair of boots involves allowing them to mold to the unique shape of your foot over time. This will ensure proper fit, that they’re comfortable for you, and prevent the likelihood of blisters and irritation. The amount of time it takes depends primarily on the material; leather and nubuck will take longer to break in that textile boots.

Breaking in a pair of boots is a gradual process. If you go on a long walk or a particularly technical hike a day or two after buying your boots, you’ll definitely be feeling some discomfort. To start off, take short walks with your boots on, be it around the house or on a quick trip to the store. This process can take a while depending on the material; be patient, and allow your own comfort level to be your guide. If you still find them being uncomfortable after an extensive break-in period, and the boots aren’t damaged in any way, it may be worth considering having the boots altered, or even exchanging them for a different pair. Comfort is one of the most important parts of choosing footwear, and it isn’t something you should feel like you have to compromise on.


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