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The Best Hiking Boots

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No matter where your outdoor adventures take you, with these hiking boots you'll be able to tackle any terrain

If you’re planning any kind of outdoor adventure on foot, you're going to need a good pair of hiking boots. Trainers might suffice for a quick stroll in good weather, but anything more ambitious calls for a good, durable pair of waterproof boots designed specifically to deal with the elements.

A well-fitting, waterproof pair of walking boots will be a lifesaver in bad weather and on longer treks, and will have you hiking happily come rain or shine, blister-free. Well-made hiking boots don’t tend to come cheap, but it’s worth investing in one quality pair and looking after them. You’ll get years of wear out of them if you do.

Here, you’ll find our favourite pairs of hiking boots, all of which are guaranteed to perform, rain or shine.

The best hiking boots for men and women

1. Brasher Country Master

A classic, and for good reason. Brasher’s Country Master has the kind of looks that might spring to mind when you hear the words “hiking boot” – it’s a simple, sturdy, heritage-inspired leather boot, and proud of it. The soft, sumptuous leather outer is fully waterproof and is paired with tough-as-nails Vibram soles that are happy striding over any terrain. The Country Master is warm in cold climates yet breathable in warmer weather, ensuring your feet won’t overheat. A good choice for a walking holiday, and if hiking boots tend to rub your ankles and heels, the excellent fit and soft suede cuffs might solve that.

Key specs – Weight: 740g; Waterproofing: Event; Material: Leather; Sole: Vibram

2. Scarpa Mistral GTX

The Mistrals tick every box we consider when looking for a mountain-ready boot. They combine our two highest-recommended technologies, Gore-Tex waterproofing and Vibram soles, so can take on the worst of the weather you throw at them without blinking.

Comfortable suede outers mould to your feet for a great fit, and a cushioned insole makes the Mistrals bouncy and easy to walk in mile after mile. A high-cut ankle also feels supportive, even on uneven terrain.

If you’re heading into the hills, this is our top all-round pick for men and women alike.

Key specs – Weight: 540g; Waterproofing: Gore-Tex; Material: Suede; Sole: Vibram

3. TOG24 Penyghent

TOG24’s new hiking boot collection delivers excellent quality for the money, and our top pick is the unisex Penyghent boot. That smart grey suede and fabric outer is a lightweight alternative to leather but is still waterproof enough to withstand a downpour, while the thick soles are cushioned and springy, even on long hikes. A great option if you’re watching the pennies, and we think the versatile looks of the Penyghent punch way above their price point – a good boot for wearing in the city as well as the countryside.

Key specs – Weight: N/A; Waterproofing: Waterproof membrane; Material: Suede; Sole: Rubber

4. Karrimor Munro

Karrimor’s Munro is a gem of a boot, best suited to autumn and winter hikes and adventures. It uses the Weathertite waterproof system, which clearly knows its job – you can hike in a torrential downpour and still come home with bone-dry socks. Inside the boots you’ll find bouncy, cushioned inner soles, and the Munros sport a lower-cut yet supportive ankle. Any downsides for the cheaper price? They’re not the lightest boots on the market, and the laces aren’t the sturdiest we tried – but you could always replace them.

Key specs – Weight: N/A; Waterproofing: Weathertite; Material: Leather; Sole: Dynagrip

How to choose the best hiking boots for you

Should I buy leather or fabric hiking boots?

First up, you’ll need to choose between leather and fabric models. Traditional leather boots are heavier and stiffer, but will last you for years if you care for them properly. They also mould to your feet over time. Although they need breaking in, you’ll end up with very comfortable boots.

The thicker material also makes leather designs warmer and ideal for winter wear. Fabric boots are lighter but less hardy, and tend to offer less warmth but more breathability, making them best suited to spring and summer rambles and for international travel. They also feel much comfier straight out of the box. Suede boots look great but do require more care to keep clean.

What other features should I look for?

Most decent hiking boots are waterproof and use treatments such as Gore-Tex or an own-brand waterproofing system to fend off rain. Make sure the walking boots you buy are listed as fully waterproof and not just water-resistant, since the latter can handle a light shower but are pretty much useless in bad weather.

Hiking boots are usually designed with rugged rubber soles, and some use specific technology here, too. Vibram is the last word in toughness. Look for bouncy soles with deep lugs, which offer good grip. If in doubt, boots packing both Gore-Tex and Vibram tech are bound to be pretty decent (but can be expensive).

How do I get the best fit?

When trying on hiking boots, look for shoes with plenty of wiggle room for your toes and make sure they don’t feel tight anywhere around your heels. If you’re planning on hiking over rocky or uneven ground, boots with higher ankle support are a good choice. Boots designed for wide feet and for bunions are also available.

The more pairs you can try on, the better, as you might find that a specific brand's shoes suit your feet’s shape the best. Wear hiking socks when testing boots, and try lacing the boots up tight and checking they don’t rub around your ankles. If you’re buying leather, expect a bit of stiffness on the first few hikes until they adapt to your feet.

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