The best waterproof shoes and trainers for hiking in 2023
Be prepared for wet weather
Jen & Sim Benson have been testing walking gear on behalf of the Ramblers since 2019.
A buyer's guide
While trainers and shoes do offer less in the way of wading depth and ankle support than a traditional hiking boot, the payoff is the freedom and flexibility of lighter and more breathable footwear.
Hiking shoes usually fall into one of three categories. The first is the traditional sturdy design, much like a hiking boot only shorter. The second is the approach-style shoe, designed for precision of foot placements on technical, rocky terrain, usually with a ‘climbing zone’ at the toe and high friction rubber soles. Finally, and currently very popular, are those based around trail running shoes, taking the grip, comfort and lightweight designs of trainers designed for running long distances on rugged terrain and adding some walking-specific features.
Danner Trail 2650 Campo GTX Shoe
Weight 598g/pair size 39.5
Designed to be as lightweight, cushioned, and comfortable over long distances as a trail running shoe, but with the durability and stiffness specific to the demands of hiking, these shoes may well live up to their hefty price tag. The foot sits deep in the footbed, creating a stable, customised feel with cushioning that’s almost bouncy. The result is added efficiency as you walk, reducing fatigue over long days on your feet. The leather and fabric upper looks great, and is comfortable and secure on the foot, with Gore-Tex waterproofing for year-round use.
Salomon Cross Hike Mid GTX
Weight 666g/pair size 40
Drawing from Salomon’s legendary Speedcross trail running shoe, the newly updated Cross Hike 2 is a mid-height waterproof hiking shoe that feels lightweight, grippy and agile – ideal for moving unencumbered over technical terrain. But it’s also very supportive, offering a secure and stable feel through the heel and ankle. The textile upper is smart and durable, with a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane and a PFC-free water-resistant coating. The sole offers medium cushioning, excellent underfoot protection and great grip across a wide variety of conditions.
Columbia Facet 60 Low OutDry trainer
Weight 638g/pair size 39.5
These incredibly comfortable waterproof trainers look great while keeping your feet dry and protected all day long, whether you’re walking on city pavements, low level footpaths, or mountain trails. The chunky midsole is luxuriously cushioned, yet the ride is smooth and stable, combining with Columbia’s high friction Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber outsole for comfortable and secure footing. An OutDry waterproof membrane means they’re suitable for year-round use – overall an excellent, versatile waterproof trainer.
La Sportiva TX4 GTX Shoe
Weight 666g/pair size 40
On technical terrain, when precision is paramount but comfort is also key, these outstanding approach shoes are the answer. The upper is made from a soft and supple yet abrasion-resistant and durable suede leather with Gore-Tex for waterproofing. The sole is a hardwearing, high friction Vibram Megagrip, with a tapered ‘climbing zone’ at the front for precise foot placements on steep sections, scrambles or via ferrata. Designed for all-day use in technically demanding conditions, they’re a perfect balance of comfort, grip, precision, and protection.
Salewa Dropline Gore-Tex Shoe
Weight 760g/pair size 45
Designed as an agile speed-hiking shoe, the Dropline feels like a running shoe but with a slightly stiffer and more protective sole. The sole also offers plenty of cushioning, with a forefoot rocker that aids an efficient toe-off at the end of each step. They are especially grippy on gravel and rocky trails, but the shallow tread does struggle in mud. The upper has a sock-like fit with a wrap-around lacing system that combines with the 3F heel to offer a snug, supportive and very comfortable feel. A rubber toe bumper protects both shoe and foot from rocks, while a Gore-Tex membrane keeps your feet dry.
Haglofs L.I.M. Proof Low Trainer
Weight 742g/pair size 46
Part of Haglofs’ Less Is More range, this lightweight trekking shoe looks smart and feels comfortable. The polyester upper is lightly padded with a supportive heel cup, but the feel is a little stiff. A TPU toe bumper adds durability and protection, while waterproofing is a PFC-free and bluesign approved Proof Eco membrane. The rubber outsole grips well on rocks and gravel trails, but lacks traction on wet grass and mud. The sole is protective and cushioned with shock absorbing gel technology from parent running shoe company Asics. A decent choice for general walking with a light pack, everyday or travel wear.
Merrell Moab 3 GTX Shoe
Weight 984g/pair size 46
A best seller for over 15 years, the Moab walking shoe has had an update for 2023. The newest version is more comfortable underfoot thanks to improved cushioning materials, and more sustainably produced with recycled materials in the upper and laces. All the much-loved core details remain, though, including a nicely padded upper, dependable Vibram sole, Gore-Tex waterproofing and the classic Moab styling. They may not be the lightest walking shoes, but they’re great to walk in, and the previous version proved to be durable. The sole is stiff enough to provide support for long distance walking and rocky terrain. Sizing slightly small, they are available up to size UK15, and as a mid (average or medium width) from £140.
Columbia Peakfreak X2 OutDry Shoe
Weight 776g/pair size 46
Lightweight and flexible, these comfy shoes are waterproof thanks to Columbia’s own OutDry treatment. The sole is well cushioned and grips well on dry ground and gravelly trails, but the shallow tread struggles in mud. The Peakfreak is one of the cheaper shoes on test but good value and durable. The lightweight construction and softer sole mean they are best for shorter walks, lighter packs, and non-technical terrain. A mid height version is available from £115 and the added protection and support make this a good deal.
* Recommended retail prices correct at the time of writing. Please refer to manufacturer or retailer websites for the very latest pricing information.
Our gear testers, Sim & Jen Benson have a wealth of outdoor and walking experience. They provide regular gear reviews and kit advice in Walk magazine, the Ramblers quarterly magazine that forms part of your Ramblers membership benefits. Join today from only £3.21 per month.
Ramblers Members also receive a 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor, home to many of the outdoor brands featured in this article and a great place to get expert advice on walking gear. When this discount is used a percentage of the purchase price is returned to the Ramblers to help us look after the places you love to explore.
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