Danner Free Spirit
Comfy all-day summer hikers
Hanwag Blueridge ES
Comfortable, supportive boots for long, rugged hikes
On Cloudrock 2 waterproof
Comfortable, all-day fast hikers
Grenson Brady G:One
Luxury boots with strong eco credentials
Inov-8 RocFly G 390
Supportive and comfy graphene-infused fast hiking boots
Danner Vertigo 917
Stylish boots for city exploration
Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX V2
Sturdy all-day hikers infused with graphene
Unmarked Boots Archie-01 GRM Ripple
Stylish leather boots, built by hand in Mexico
New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro Mid
Comfy midheight boots for fast-paced walks
Haglofs Duality AT1 GT
Innovative dual insole boot for different terrain
Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX V2
Exceptionally light and comfortable fast-walking boots
Timberland Greenstride Motion 6 Super Oxford
Low-profile boots for comfortable, casual walks
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX
Sturdy, supportive and comfortable all-day hiking boots
Whether you’re looking for leather boots, waterproof boots, lightweight fabric boots, winter boots or simply some stylish-looking boots to take you from the trail straight into the pub, today’s adventure footwear offers something for everyone, from great brands like Danner, On Shoes, Adidas, Inov-8 and more. The best walking boots tend to have certain things in common: they’re comfortable, supportive and won’t make you feel like you’ve got lead weights on your feet after the first three miles of your journey.
Many of today’s hiking footwear make use of scientifically researched soles, modern fabric technology and endless fine-tuning to make them comfortable, waterproof and stable enough to handle the most rugged terrain with comfort. Others rely on traditional construction techniques and materials that have been proven to work for decades. But the dizzying array of materials and designs bring an array of options, with innumerable brands promising you the best experience. That can make it particularly challenging to figure out which will be the best for you.
That’s why I’ve put together my picks for the best adventure and hiking footwear. Each product in this list has been hand-selected and tested to ensure that they perform as well as they’re supposed to, whether you’re heading into the wilderness to go backpacking or simply schlepping around town. If they didn’t impress, they didn’t make the list.
Everything on this list qualifies as a boot, with higher ankles that give more support on longer walks or on unstable terrain. Looking for a lighter walking shoe for more casual afternoon walks? Check out our guide to the best walking shoes.
Note that this list focuses on men’s models. You can also check out our list of women’s hiking boots and shoes, which includes some of the same brands here, plus a couple of women’s-only hiking boots. Note that all the hiking boots shown here were tested in men’s models except where noted.
Danner’s new Panorama boots are a capable all-round hiking boot, built for everything from rainy-day hillwalks to sunny afternoon strolls through the forest. They’re comfortable, with a stiffer sole that gives more secure support on uneven ground. They’re waterproof lined, too, so wet ground or mud is no issue here. A note: Be careful to clean mud off the brushed suede upper if you want to keep them looking good.
They took a few miles of walking in, but once they’d settled to my feet they felt great for long (10-plus) mile jaunts around the city, while still offering the support I needed when climbing more strenuous hills.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Danner Panorama boots here.
Adidas Terrex FreeHiker II GTX
Comfy, waterproof boots for fast-paced hikes
The Freehikers have sneaker-like fit that makes them instantly comfortable the first time you put them on. They’ve got a thick foamy sole that provides endless cushioning while also acting to propel you forward as you stride along your journey. The result is a boot I happily wore all day without really noticing.
They’re Gore-Tex lined, so wet-weather hikes are no problem at all. While the higher ankle provides more support than typical sneakers, the soft overall construction of the boots means I wouldn’t feel quite as sure-footed on more mountainous or rocky adventures. But for those of you looking for an all-round lightweight hiker for fast-paced distances over more moderate terrain, these will suit well.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Adidas Terrex Freehiker II GTX here.
The Free Spirit boots have a stylish retro look, similar to Danner’s Jaq Quilt (another boot on this list). But while the Jags are built with a thermal lining for cold-weather hikes, the Free Spirits are lighter and more breathable making them suited more for summer walks in mixed terrain.
Their sneaker-like fit makes them comfortable to wear all day, while their high ankle support, Gore Tex lining and durable footbed makes them well suited for forest and hillside trails in any conditions. I also found them equally at home on the wet cobbled streets around Edinburgh.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Danner Free Spirit boots here.
With their tall ankles, waterproof membrane lining, and stiff, grippy soles, Hanwag’s Blueridge boots are well-equipped for some tough hill hikes. Right out of the box I found these boots to be extremely comfortable, offering superb support in all the right places, meaning my feet didn’t feel at all sore after a full day of walking on mixed terrain. They feel very well put together too, featuring recycled materials and PFC-free membranes.
Hanwag has had a reputation for quality since its beginnings over 100 years ago, and it’s good to see that the Blueridge ES boots stay true to that. If you’re after a waterproof walking boot that’s equally at home putting in the miles in the hills or doing jaunts by the riverside, then these are well worth considering.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Hanwag Blueridge ES here.
I loved the first generation of On’s Cloudrock hiking boots and the refreshed model ticks all the same boxes. They’re comfortable to wear right out of the box and the characteristic chunky sole of On’s range creates a rocking motion as you stride along that helps propel you forward.
It makes them comfortable to wear for fast-paced, all-day hikes on mixed terrain, while the waterproof lining did a good job of keeping the Scottish weather at bay. I even like the stealthy black styling, that paired just as well with hiking trousers as they did with a pair of jeans in the pub.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the On Cloudrock waterproof boots here.
With their high price, there’s no question that these aren’t boots for everyone. Their luxury nature also means they aren’t boots you’d want to strap to your feet to hike through the Sierra Nevadas. So why do I like them so much? Well, they’re utterly beautiful to look at, and they’re made by hand in England by experienced bootmakers — that’s resulted in an exceptionally well-made boot that’ll last for years to come.
But more than that, the Brady G:One boots have some innovative eco credentials I’ve never seen in footwear before. The dyes used in the leather tanning are made from leftover olive tree leaves, which are usually discarded or burned during the olive harvests. The dye uses far fewer acids or chemicals than typical tanning dyes, and the repurposing of the olive leaves provides additional income for olive farmers.
The soles also feature a distinctive pattern that’s actually due to the fact that they’re made from waste chips discarded from the manufacturing of other soles, resulting in a significant reduction in waste overall.
Though Grenson doesn’t necessarily sell these as regular hiking boots, I found them to be extremely comfortable to wear over longer distances, with good ankle support and plenty of cushioning and grip from the soles. No, I wouldn’t want to wear these boots through muddy fields, but they’re superb for casual urban hikes and on forest trails that end in the beer garden of a good pub.
I love Inov-8’s existing boots, which infuse the wonder-material graphene into the sole (seen below) but its most recent RocFly G390 boots take that further and put graphene in the footbed as well. Why? Inov-8 reckons it keeps the foam soft and supportive for longer, meaning these boots will feel just as good after 50 miles as they did after 5.
I found them comfortable, with great ankle support and robust grip that gave me confidence for fast-paced walking on hillside trails in any conditions. The Roclite Pro (seen below) are the more burly ones in the range so it’s those you should look toward for more mountainous conditions.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Inov-8 RocFly G 390 boots here.
Designed and built by hand in the UK (but shipping worldwide), HebTroCo’s Moto boot is styled as a hard-wearing work boot that’s perhaps best at home in a workshop, worn by a tattooed welder fixing up a vintage Harley Davidson. But that doesn’t mean they can’t put in the miles. The heavy-duty Vibram sole offers plenty of traction on hillside trails while its classic black look won’t look out of place in a beer garden at the end of your walk either.
The traditional screwed-on nature of the sole means the sole can be replaced when it wears down, so these boots can keep on going for many years. The heavy construction meant they took some miles to walk in, but they were comfy and supportive once they had.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the HebTroCo Moto Boot here.
Brandecosse The Capriolo
Soft leather boots perfect for countryside hikes
Brandecosse Boots is based in Scotland, so it’s no surprise that the Capriolo boots tackled the many trails, hills and rocky footpaths of Cairngorms National Park in the country’s heart with ease when I took them for a long weekend of testing. The boots themselves are hand-built in Italy, and the result is a quality product that’s both comfortable over long distances and supportive when the going gets more tough.
They’re surprisingly light for a leather boot, so I never felt weighed down by them, while the waterproof and breathable inners meant that my feet kept cool in the summer heat while unexpected stream crossings didn’t result in wet socks.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Brandecosse Capriolo boots here.
The Danner Vertigo 917 have quickly become my favorite boots for active days out. On a recent trip across Europe, they put in many miles walking around Barcelona, remaining comfortable and supportive, yet stylish enough to wear into any of the city’s bars and restaurants at the end of the day. On my return, the boots coped admirably with more rural walks through the South of France, handling with both wet roads in town centers and loose, muddier ground on more scenic hikes.
The elasticated section of the ankle gives them a comfortable, forgiving fit that allows for all-day wear, but means they’re not supportive enough for strenuous hill walks or for long hikes with heavy packs. Instead, these boots are best for casual use, putting the miles in throughout the city before meeting your friends for drinks.
Like the Roclite 345 V2 boots seen elsewhere on this list, these boots are infused with graphene for added durability, are lined with Gore-Tex for waterproofing and are comfortable right out of the box. However, the Pro G 400 V2 boots have a thicker, stiffer sole, more support around the ankle and tougher upper materials, which makes them much more suited to difficult terrain.
This waterproof hiking boot is still surprisingly lightweight, and I had no problem wearing them on long hikes on forest trails and muddy hill tracks. The deep lugs on the soles help the boots dig into loose terrain to keep you stable, and I certainly felt confident that my feet weren’t going to slip out from under me.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Inov-8 Roclite G Pro 400 V2 boots here.
Built by hand in Leon, Mexico, these boots have a definite style to them, with their beautiful leather and rippled sole. But don’t think these are just style over substance; inspired by traditional Mexican work boots, these are boots that can take some abuse and keep on going. The cowhide leather is soft but strong and the sole is firm enough to give plenty of support on uneven terrain.
They took some wearing in before I found them comfortable, and I’d want to make sure I’m wearing thick socks when covering much distance, but these boots have been great for city explorations and forest and hillside trails that end at the pub.
Unmarked also makes its boots to order, with a 15-day minimum waiting period for each order. It does this to drastically eliminate waste by only buying the materials it needs to compete each production cycle. So a little patience on your part when ordering allows for a much more conscious product as a result.
I liked the comfortable cushioning of New Balance’s Hierro shoes, finding them to be great for fast-paced walks around the city. But with added ankle support, the midheight version of the shoe means they’re much better suited for more arduous walks through forests and up gentle hills. The deep foam sole still provides a comfortable experience, while the Vibram sole offers good grip on loose terrain.
They’re still soft boots though, so don’t expect these to offer the support you’d need up mountains or on long distance hikes through the wilderness. Instead, they’re a great everyday boot option, taking you from house to shops to pub and home via a nice parkland walk, all without your feet begging for a rest.
These boots get their name, Duality, from the two sets of insoles that come in the box. One is softer and designed more for comfortable city or gentle trail hikes. The other set is stiffer and more supportive, allowing you tackle more demanding terrain. The idea is that you don’t need to carry two sets of boots on a long, mixed hike, but instead can simply swap the insoles as needed.
It’s a neat idea that I can see working well. I tested them mostly with the softer footbed which I found comfortable, but still stiff enough to offer support on uneven terrain. They’re fully waterproof too thanks to the Gore-Tex lining and are made from recycled materials and algae-based foam in the midsoles that reduces water use in production.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Haglofs Duality AT1 GT boots here.
True to the company name, these boots innovate through their use of graphene — the atom-thick “miracle material” that’s stronger than steel and lighter than carbon fiber. Here, it’s been infused in the hiking boot sole, which Inov-8 reckons makes it more durable and grippier. In my testing I certainly found the boots to be extremely capable on mixed walks, handling muddy trails, loose rocky terrain wet asphalt.
They’re exceptionally lightweight hiking boots too, making them as comfortable to wear as sneakers, right out of the box with no break-in required. You can walk all day in this hiking footwear without feeling weighed down, so they’re definitely a hiking boot to consider if you plan on tackling long trails.
This updated version also features harder-wearing materials and firmer foam cushioning that Inov-8 says provides more energy return with each step. While they have a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, they don’t have the same ruggedness required for more mountainous and rough terrain, so if that’s on the agenda, then consider their more burly hiking boot siblings, the G Pro 400 V2 boots seen above.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX V2 boots here.
With a midankle height, Timberland’s Greenstride Motion 6 boots sit somewhere between a walking boot and a walking shoe. For the purposes of this list, I’m considering them a boot, but those of you looking for a more casual walking shoe should still consider them for your daily walks. They’re comfortable to wear, feature a waterproof lining to keep the worst of the weather at bay and have a grippy sole that’s great for wet, grassy trails.
But they also come with good eco credentials too, featuring recycled plastic and soles made with 75 percent bio-based materials, including sugar cane.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the Timberland Greenstride Motion 6 boots here.
La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II boots are sturdy and supportive while still feeling soft and light enough to remain comfortable on a full day hiking through the hills. The sole is grippy on loose gravel, wet grass and muddy trails while the waterproof GoreTex lining means they’ll keep the worst of the rain at bay too.
I’ve found them to be great all-round hikers that I’ve loved having in the back of the car ready to tackle wherever I end up that day, from easy hikes around a gentle forest footpath to more strenuous, off-road hill climbs with a backpack full of photography gear.
Shopping in the UK? Buy the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots here.
How we test our hiking boots
Every pair of boots or shoes on this list has been tested by us, in real-world conditions. Nothing is based on specs alone, nor do we take any promises made by the marketing departments at face value. Each pair is assessed on its own merits and if it doesn’t tick all our boxes it doesn’t make the final cut.
Our footwear is tested in Scotland and, depending on the type of shoe, will experience a variety of terrains. Not all footwear is designed to tackle the mountains, so some items on this list are used more around the steep cobbled streets of Edinburgh, on parkland walks or gentle riverside trails, often finishing at the pub. The more burly additions to the list are tested more in their natural environment; hillside tracks and rugged, rocky passes.
Every pair gets a minimum of 15 miles usage (but usually much more) and Scotland’s famously wet weather means that any claims for waterproofing are easy to put to the test.
We check that the boots are comfortable enough to wear all day without causing blisters, pains, or bruising, that they offer the support or grip they’re supposed to and we check out for any signs of poor manufacturing — such as loose stitching or glue that begins to come loose that could reduce the lifespan of the boots.
What to look for in a hiking boot or walking shoe
There’s a vast amount of choice in the hiking footwear world, from burly, leather hiking boots designed to tackle steep mountain passes, through to lightweight shoes that are more at home on the Italian riviera. Finding the right pair for you then will involve thinking hard about what you need from your boots and where you’re going to be taking them.
If you’ll mostly be walking on gentle countryside tracks or carefully-groomed forest trails then a walking shoe (such as the Salewa Dropline GTX) might be a good fit; their lighter design makes them great for all-day wearing. If you’re hitting more rocky terrain — or if you simply prefer the additional ankle support — then a mid-height boot (or higher) like the On Shoes Cloudrock or Inov Rocfly G 345 GTX will provide more stability and sure-footedness.
Keep the time of year and weather in mind too; some boots (like the Danner Mountain Pass Arctic Night) come with thermal linings and soles designed for snow and ice, while others (like the Erem XeroCole) are designed for breathability and comfort in hot conditions, like hiking the Arizona Trail.
While historically most hiking boots were made from leather, it’s more common to find boots made from synthetic fabrics today. These can be lighter and more comfortable to wear (along with being easier to care for), but can still offer superb support for even strenuous, multi-day hikes. Leather boots are still widely available however and companies like Danner produce excellent classic-looking leather boots that are comfortable and supportive on long-distance journeys.
If you’re likely to be hiking in wet conditions then look out for either Gore-Tex linings, or other ‘own-brand’ waterproof linings that the manufacturer might use. Keep in mind that “waterproof” in boots rarely means ‘submersible’ so don’t expect to stand in a river all day doing some fishing, expecting to keep the water out.
Finally, make sure you have the right fit. Some boots (like the Hanwag Tatra Wide) are designed specifically for those of you with a wider foot shape who might have struggled to find comfortable boots elsewhere. Most manufacturers tend to offer sizing guidance (“Fits true to size” or “Fits small”) on their websites, so keep that in mind when considering the fit.